The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

So … I am majorly behind when it comes to my ARC list and I have been a bit too overwhelmed by it to really catch up. But all of that ends with this book! This has been the first ARC I have read in a while and hopefully, it will signal the first step in my goal to improve my Netgalley approval rating (because it is super low right now)! But enough about that, let’s get on with the review:

35620124Summary (Goodreads): When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

 


Review: As much as I wanted to love this book, sadly, I just didn’t. And I think a lot of it has to do with the approach the author took for writing this story.

Let me tell you some of the things I liked about this story first:

I really like that the story featured 3 very different female characters. Usually, I find that most authors create very similar main characters, but with this book, Cecily, Kate, and Franny all had their own distinct voice and mannerisms. I also liked that the story was told from their perspectives: Cecily and Kate had their own chapters, whereas Franny’s POV was presented in an interview format; I really liked the inclusion of this latter style because it created a nice break from the conventional writing format and kept me interested.

But now, it’s time to talk about why this novel ultimately didn’t work for me …

Initially, this book was presented as a thriller. Now, I love thrillers, and read a TON of them (as you can probably tell from my reviews)! But with this novel, there was a huge element of the story that focused on the emotional side of things, and there was a big focus on depression. I like that the author attempted to highlight the emotional toll that losing a partner can take, and how guilt carries on and prevents people from moving on. But for some reason, it just didn’t work for me. Even though there was all of this emotional character development, I still felt very detached from the characters; it almost felt like I was being told what the character was feeling and why they were feeling rather than shown, and I would have preferred the latter because it would have allowed me to empathize and connect better with them.

I also don’t think this story really should be classified as a thriller because it just wasn’t that thrilling. The twists weren’t that big and the whole emotional aspect of the story detracted from any feelings of … well … suspense. Whenever there was a potentially thrilling occurrence, it was either dropped too quickly or not followed up on and I found that quite disappointing. The few twists and turns that were there also just made me frustrated because they weren’t really shocking reveals as much as just going back and forth about the same thing. My train of thought the entire time was just “Ok, here’s something suspicious that someone said, but oh nope turns out it’s wrong, and then wait nope we are back to that again and apparently we were right the first time” and that gets old reeeeaaaal quick. To me, that isn’t a thriller, it’s just a heap of confusion masquerading as a thriller and it makes me really frustrated.

I know it seems like I really hated this book. While there were things that were wrong with it, I still ended up finishing it and wanting to know how the story ended – so that must mean there was some level of success in the author’s ability to pique my interest. Either way, this wasn’t the best thriller I have ever read … but I’ve read a lot worse. I think that the premise was interesting and the writing style was good, but if this novel had been branded differently and not as a thriller, I would have had different expectations from it and probably enjoyed it more. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

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Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings – Killing Eve #1

I was drawn to this novel because of the hit new TV show Killing Eve. I saw a trailer for the show ages ago and immediately knew I wanted to watch it – it looked so cool and featured some very strong female actresses! Now … I still haven’t gotten around to watching it because … life is busy and my TV binge list is just as long as my TBR list. But I decided to do the next best thing – I read the book that inspired the creation of the show!

36546651Summary (Goodreads): Villanelle (a codename, of course) is one of the world’s most skilled assassins. A catlike psychopath whose love for the creature comforts of her luxurious lifestyle is second only to her love of the game, she specializes in murdering the world’s richest and most powerful. But when she murders an influential Russian politician, she draws a relentless foe to her tail.
Eve Polastri (not a codename) is a former MI6 operative hired by the national security services for a singular task: to find and capture or kill the assassin responsible, and those who have aided her. Eve, whose quiet and otherwise unextraordinary life belies her quick wit and keen intellect, accepts the mission.
The ensuing chase will lead them on a trail around the world, intersecting with corrupt governments and powerful criminal organizations, all leading towards a final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed.

 


Review: So …. I finished reading it. And while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t go crazy over it.

The story is interesting but I have to admit, there was really nothing new when it came to this book. Villanelle is a psychopath who does a great job as a spy. But her character just wasn’t that unique to me. Maybe I read too many messed-up books but I could name quite a few psychopathic characters that were a lot better than her! The only thing that stood out for me about Villanelle was the way the author always used cat-like descriptions of her … and I didn’t really like that.

The story also wasn’t really that interesting. It was similar to Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews by Jason Matthews, except that all the main characters were female. Even then, I preferred Red Sparrow because the main character there had an interesting condition and was intelligent whereas Villanelle really didn’t have anything going for her.

I will say that I enjoyed the description of the events; they had the right amount of violence, and showed the cold, calculated behaviour that you would hope and expect from a killer.

Overall, this novel came off as a bit generic and didn’t really excite me too much. I will be watching the TV show soon, however, so hopefully I will enjoy that more. For now, this book gets a 2/5 stars from me.

2 star

Have any of you read this book? Who has watched the show Killing Eve? Is there a difference between the two? I would love to know so share your thoughts in the comments section!

Happy reading ~

All The Ever Afters by Danielle Teller

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I am such a fan of retellings of classic fairy tales and stories. I’ve read quite a few that have featured Cinderella but I’m always searching for a new take on this classic and I was really excited to give this one a shot! Here is my review:

36099691.jpgSummary (Goodreads): We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, a woman who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. But what unfolds is not the princess’s history. The tale Agnes recounts is her own.

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice at Aviceford Manor when she is just ten years old. Alone, friendless, and burdened with a grueling workload, Agnes carves a place for herself in this cold place that is home to Sir Emont Vis-de-Loup, a melancholic and capricious drunkard.

Using her wits and ingenuity, Agnes eventually escapes and makes her way toward a hopeful future, serving as a housemaid for the powerful Abbess Elfilda. But life once again holds unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking twists that lead Agnes back to Aviceford Manor, where she becomes nursemaid to Ella, Emont’s sensitive, otherworldly daughter. Though she cares for Ella, Agnes struggles to love this child, who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, ultimately, the celebrated princess who embodies all our unattainable fantasies.

 


Review: This was quite an interesting story, told from the perspective of Cinderella’s stepmother – a voice I had never heard from until now. And I’m really glad I did!

The author really changed the story of Cinderella but still managed to keep the basic framework recognizable for fans of the original tale. It was interesting having the villainous character take the spotlight, and have her turn out to not be a villain after all. The author created a very unique character in Agnes, and watching her grow up and learn about the harsh realities of life and still make something of herself is admirable. There were so many moments where I really connected with her, which made me really enjoy reading this book. Unlike in the classic tale, Agnes was a fully-fleshed out character in this tale, as were her daughters. If anything, it was Cinderella’s character that bothered me the most; I really found her annoying and the fact that she became queen (which I know is inevitable – but still!) just seemed unfair because, well, she didn’t deserve it! As you can tell, I became quite invested in the lives of the characters – and that’s always a good sign!

In terms of the writing style, I had mixed feelings about it. The prose was beautiful and lyrical and I really liked the shifts between the past and present that gave us a fuller picture of the events that transpired. However, the story moved at quite a slow pace and there were times when nothing really happened. I would say that this story might have benefited from being cut a little shorter at some points, but I also feel that if this novel was shortened, it wouldn’t create as nice of a picture or setting as it does now.

Regardless, I found this novel to be a very unique variation to a classic story that changed my perception of a character that was always portrayed as “evil”. I enjoyed reading this book and felt very drawn to the main character. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. For now, I’m giving it a solid 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

Sadie by Courtney Summers

When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought this would be right down my alley. You know how much I love reading books that are seriously messed up, and a revenge story with this premise DEFINITELY fit into that category. But after reading this novel, I must say that this is so much more than that. Here are my thoughts:

34810320Summary (Goodreads): Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


Review:

Wow. This book. Wow. I’m struggling to write this review because there is just so much I want to say about this novel. To say it messed me up would be an understatement because it SERIOUSLY messed me up. And I mean that in the best way. This novel has a lot of triggers for child abuse and assault so please do keep that in mind if you plan on picking it up.

The story has a very unique writing style in that it is told mostly through Sadie’s perspective but also through a podcast, where you can read the transcripts (or listen to them, if you have an audiobook version – and I really recommend that experience). This allows the reader to see the story from an outsider’s view, which is very much appreciated because it just added more depth and realism to the story.

There is so much going on in this story from an emotional perspective. As the plot shows Sadie’s journey to get justice for her sister’s murder, we also see Sadie handle her grief and get a glimpse into what her life has been like. And let me tell you, it is heart-wrenching. The author does not hold back the punches when delving into dark material like abuse, murder, pedophilia, and sexual assault. Readers get to really understand the experiences that Sadie has been through and how she has tried to stay strong and be mature for her sister. I loved Sadie’s character, even though there were times when I didn’t feel like I could connect with – at times, her reticence made her distant to the reader. But the rawness of the emotions, and the significance of the message of the story were so real and I was completely drawn into Sadie’s world.

There aren’t very many books that I say everyone should read. But this is one of those books. It is gripping, it is heartbreaking and it is completely relevant. If you haven’t tried this novel, I highly recommend that you do. I’m giving this book 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

So remember how I said I was back? Well …. it seems I lied. Once again, I underestimated my workload and put too much on my plate. But fear not, I have continued to read and I think (and I say this very hesitantly) that I am ready to get back into writing blog posts. I have a lot of books I want to get through and I feel quite motivated to do so …. and I thought this book would be a great one to start with, so let’s get started!

13623848Summary (Goodreads): Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.


Review:

To say I loved this book would not do it justice. It was absolutely amazing and months after reading it, I am still in awe of the author’s ability to create this vivid and fantastic story.

I went into this book completely blind; apart from vaguely knowing that Achilles was a Greek hero who fought in Troy, I knew nothing about this Greek legend. This story was so different than anything I have previously read and the direction of the story was not what I was expecting at all – and I mean this in the best way possible!

One of the first things that drew me to this book was the writing style. Told from the perspective of Patroclus, the prose is lyrical and rich in its detail. Every single scene, every single character, every interaction was fleshed out beautifully, giving it a realistic feel that the reader could really believe in. The author manages to accomplish this while still maintaining the simplicity of the language, making it easy to just keep reading.

I also thought the author went about telling this story in a very intelligent way. Rather than focusing on the actual fighting that usually is the central point of the Iliad, the author chose to explore the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles, and by doing so, she revealed a side to Achilles that I don’t think many people will have seen or read before. Instead of being this strong, untouchable demigod, Achilles has been rendered as a simple man, capable of love and humor. Achilles is given a personality that readers can connect with, which makes us understand why people were so enamored by him, why Patroclus loved him as much as he did. And while Achilles is definitely the star of the show, Patroclus’ character is in no way diminished by him. In fact, it is easy to see how this is the story of Patroclus, as we get to read about a character that is usually kept in the sidelines. While this means that the story didn’t necessarily have a great deal of action, it gave a lot of depth and nuance to a tale that most people are very familiar with.

The ending of this novel had me in tears, which is really a testament to how strongly the author made me connect with the characters. The love (because really, this is a love story over all else) between Patroclus and Achilles is timeless and strong and enduring; it is everything you dream of when you think of love. I was rooting for them from the start and seeing their love bloom and endure was absolutely beautiful. I was moved by their emotions and the lengths they would go for each other, and there was never a moment where I didn’t believe in their love for each other, even though they never declared their love for each other in the story.

At the end of the day, this was a masterful rendition of the story of Achilles, and one that I would encourage everyone to read. At the heart of it, this is a love story and it is a beautiful and tragic one, which will definitely make you emotional. I am so glad that I picked this book up, and I cannot wait to read more from this author. It should come as no surprise, then, that I’m giving this a 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

With the advent of Halloween, I thought it would be nice to read a horror story. I love a good haunting, even if I don’t personally want it to happen to me! I chose this book because I had absolutely loved  The Broken Girls by this author, and I wanted to read more of her work. So let me just jump straight into my experience:

11832043Summary (Goodreads): Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis-rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts- has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?

 


Review: After reading this, all I can say is choosing this book was a really good idea. Because I really enjoyed it.

This novel is a blend of historical fiction and the supernatural/paranormal. I found the historical setting of the story to be interesting but not necessarily important to the story; it added some depth to a few characters but there were too many times where a character’s “emotional scars” were mentioned and it got old fast.

I loved the paranormal elements to the story and the writing style created the perfect atmosphere. I actually read this in audiobook format and I think that just amplified my experience. There were times when I truly had chills from a scene, even though I knew how it would play out.

The strength of this novel comes from the superb writing, which created the perfect ambience to convey the story. The plot wasn’t necessarily unique and the characters were not the most memorable (but there was some steamy romance that was pretty well executed), but none of that mattered because I was truly scared at certain points of the novel – and that’s what I honestly wanted. Sometimes, not every element of the story needs to be perfect: you just need to enjoy the experience of it. And that’s what happened for me. For those reasons, I’m giving this novel a solid 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Lisa Jewell is an author whose work can be a hit or a miss with me. But when I read the premise of this novel, I knew I had to read it. It was just so unusual and I could tell it would give me the tension and thrill I was seeking. So here is how my experience went:

35297426Summary (Goodreads):

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

 


My feelings when it comes to this novel are very divided. There were things I felt were very well done, and things I thought could definitely have been improved.

Let’s start with the positives:

I really liked the writing style. It was very easy to read this book because it had a very good flow. I had no trouble at all getting through this story, and I thought the descriptions of the various scenes was apt. I also loved the way the author drew up the emotional elements of the story. This is where Lisa Jewell shines. She is able to make the reader connect so well with the characters and really feel the emotions that they are going through. Clearly, there is no problem with this writer’s ability to write.

But then there comes the negatives:

This story was just so predictable. The mother-daughter relationship in this book is nothing unique. I’ve seen it a million times already and while I’m not expecting some crazy variation, there just wasn’t anything there to set this one apart. I also didn’t like that the first few chapters contained all of the major revelations. It didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.

Now I’m pretty bad at guessing what happens in thrillers. In fact, that’s why I like them so much: they always have me barking up the wrong tree. But in the case of this story, I had it pegged from the very start. Every prediction I made turned out to be true. And that was really disappointing. Predictability is never a good thing when you’re trying to serve up a mystery or thriller because it will make the reader bored. And that’s what happened with me. I just wanted to get through the story quickly to see if I was right, and when I did, I felt nothing at all. There were also some parts of the story that didn’t really make much sense and that also affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, I have conflicting thoughts on this novel. On the one hand, the writing and the emotional elements of the story are really well done. But the actual plot suffered due to its lack of originality. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

I’ve had a very interesting relationship with Shari Lapena. What I mean is I have pretty much disliked all of her previous books. And yet, I am always intrigued by the premise of whatever books she puts out and I find myself gravitating towards them. I was a little worried when I decided to give this book a chance. What if it ended up being another dud. But let me just say …. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE! Here are my thoughts:

38240386Summary (Goodreads): It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing – maybe even romantic – weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off all electricity – and all contact with the outside world – the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead – it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, everyone starts to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something – or someone – is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm – and one another

 


One of the first things I noticed about this book was that it was very reminiscent of Agatha Christie. I could imagine this story in a Poirot or Miss Marple case. And you know what? I’m not mad about it. It’s a style that works and if it’s doing a good job, then why knock it? So I really enjoyed the style of the story.

I liked the different characters and their interactions with each other. Were they all very unique? No. But they weren’t extremely redundant so I wasn’t too upset about it. I thought that their POVs were well done and it definitely took me a while to figure out the identity of the killer. The idea of there being another person in the hotel was intriguing and I wish that had been explored more; it was mentioned at one point but then it disappeared from thought.

I also thought the plot moved along at  a very good pace, with killings happening often enough to keep me interested. Each death brought on more intrigue and more erratic behaviour from the remaining guests. I think this could have been ramped up, too, with everything becoming a crazy mess near the end. Although the tension and fear was palpable, everyone was still quite composed and I would have preferred to see a disintegration of their carefully maintained behaviour.

Altogether, I had quite a good experience with this novel, which is different from my experience with other books by Shari Lapena. I thought the story was solid, the motives were interesting, and the tension kept increasing as the story went on. This wasn’t perfect: there could have been more of a breakdown, and the characters could have been more unique with less repetitive dialogue. But for the most part, I enjoyed the story. For that reason, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

In accordance with my plan to read books about marriage (yes, I’m still doing that), I decided to give this one a shot. What made it more interesting was the fact that it centered around more than just one woman. I wanted to see all of the different issues that could be brought to the forefront by each character. So let’s get on with my review:

40787693Summary (Goodreads): What causes a woman to murder her whole family?

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

 


This book started off with a bang. Too bad it didn’t continue that way.

My first major problem with this novel were the names of the main characters. Okay, I know this may sound petty at first. But think about it: Jo. Jayne. Jude. Janyn. June. Seriously, why?! The names did NOT have to be this similar and it made it so hard for me to distinguish them. Not only did their names sound the same, it was also hard to differentiate their personalities at times. It became cumbersome for me to read this book, so much so that I needed to make a little flowchart of who everyone was and how their story line was developing. That is way too much work for a reader.

I also had a problem with their “problems” with their marriage and role as mothers. Now, I’m not a wife or a mother so there’s a limit to how much I can understand about the pressures of both of these roles. But some of the problems they mentioned just seemed so bizarre. For instance, one mother described taking care of her kids as a thankless and suffocating job. And I get the suffocating part because I know (from my own mother’s exasperation with me and my sister) that kids can completely consume one’s life. But do you honestly expect your little children to constantly thank you? In that case, all children are thankless, terrible monsters. Some of the perceptions about marriage and children seemed a little too naive, or rather, too dramatic. I just couldn’t understand why the women were making certain complaints about things that are honestly very common? But like I said, I’m not a mother or a wife. Maybe once I get to that stage, the emotions that these women were feeling would make more sense to me. But there was just something about it that was overly dramatic and I didn’t enjoy that. I guess I just don’t like characters that are materialistic and whine a lot.

I think the writing style and the plot itself were both interesting. Despite the negatives mentioned above, I did want to know what was going to happen and how things would be handled. I thought the writing was very poetic and flowed nicely. The pacing was spot-on and the twists were well executed. Some of the parts of the story were quite predictable, but while the ending took me aback, I wasn’t as convinced with the motive behind it; it just seemed so weak and could have done with some more development.

This novel just didn’t work for me on a lot of fronts. I think the writing style was good but the final reveal combined with the lack of connection with the characters was a real downfall. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pierce

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I don’t read many historical fiction novels. But when I do, I try to read ones that are as unique as possible. This one really popped out to me because I had never read about a columnist – even in a non-historical fiction book. I was interested in seeing the direction that the author would take with this story and the way this character would be affected by war.

36373413Summary (Goodreads): London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.
Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.

 


I actually quite enjoyed this story. It was very wholesome and sweet and uplifting during a point of time in history where things were dismal. It was nice to see a book that was, for the most part, positive and cheery.

I thought Emmeline was a very spunky heroine. She was strong-willed and bubbly and I liked her character very much.

The author also showed good writing skills by staying true to the mannerisms of that time. I also thought that the perspective chosen for this story was a very good one. It allowed the story to showcase some of the more emotional concerns women faced during this time period. There have been other books that have looked at the “woman back home” and her struggles, but in this story, we can really see how this war affected many women, and how their problems were both similar and different all at once. It also shows a shift from maintaining “proper” decorum to addressing the needs of women. I really appreciated that aspect of the story and the way characters became aware of this shift.

Of course, there were parts of the story that were clichéd but those are to be expected and I didn’t really feel that it detracted from my enjoyment of the whole thing. Sometimes it’s okay to not have everything be very different. The choice of narrator and the way the author talked about social issues was unique enough to make the story entertaining!

Overall, I quite liked this book. Despite its stereotypical events, I thought it had nice characters and an interesting perspective. For those reasons, I’m giving it a solid 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~