September 19, 2015 by madbooklove
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Penguin Random House in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Summary: After Roberta’s elderly grandmother is placed in a nursing home, she and her gravely ill father are left to sort through her things. When her father brings in an old suitcase full of books to her bookshop, she finds an intriguing letter inside one of the books, a letter that raises questions about where she comes from and who her grandmother truly is.
Review: The quality of the writing is lovely and mature and enjoyable. The story itself is intriguing, and despite being another World War II story in the midst of a huge influx of World War II stories lately, it manages to be different from others that I’ve read. Perhaps this is partially because most of the stories I have read are entirely from a British point of view. While this story is set in England and the characters primarily British, I appreciate that Jan is Polish and so we get a hint of another perspective on the war.
I found myself quickly and easily invested in the characters and intrigued by the storyline. At no point did I feel as though I had to “tough my way through” because it was an ARC (sometimes I do feel that way, that I have to finish it even though I don’t like it, out of a sense of obligation). Quite the contrary. I wouldn’t call it unputdownable, but I was regularly thinking about when I would be able to steal away some time to read more of it, and that is saying quite a lot.
I do, however, have two complaints. The first is, there is an event that occurs (and I’m intentionally being vague to avoid spoilers) that I feel was handled with kid gloves and should not have been. Perhaps there are people who handle such things in the way this character did, nearly brushing it aside, as if it were not as significant as it actually was, but I don’t think that is typically the case, and I would like for the topic to have either been handled more appropriately, or left out altogether, as I truly don’t feel that it added much to the story.
My chief complaint, and it’s a small one, is that it could have been longer. There was room for more development in certain parts of the story, and the end felt a bit rushed through. I would like to have had the chance to get a deeper look into Roberta’s relationship with Philip, to have heard more about what happened to Jan, and I feel as though the storyline with Roberta’s mother should either have been beefed up or left in the background entirely.
All that aside, it was a story worth reading and time well spent. I look forward to reading whatever she writes next!