21st July to 29th July ~Physical Copy ~Link to Goodreads
I pre-ordered this book and I really wanted to love it but sadly as you might’ve guessed from the rating I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I will do a brief spoiler free review and then at the end of this post I will do a section that will have spoilers as I don’t think I can really explain my feelings without giving certain things away.
There were a few things I enjoyed about this book. I did quite like that it was so easy to read. I have been in a book slump for a couple of months and so this was a good book to pick up and clear a few of the slumpy cobwebs away. I also liked that it represented the LGBT community. I kind of wish that she worked them into the novel a little more naturally but I don’t mind that too much because I was just so pleased that they were included.
Okay so I will preface this by saying alot of the things I point out here will be a little vague but I will go into them in more detail in the spoiler section below. Firstly and probably most importantly I could not connect to Evie as a character at all! All the drama’s throughout the book could have been so easily avoided and I just feel like she made mountains out of molehills, I have never been able to get along with characters (or real people) who create their own drama. At 27 I feel like she was incredibly immature and I think alot of the issues had would have been none existant if she was 17. I also didn’t really like Vincent I didn’t feel like he was fleshed out well as a character he was just a little too bland for me. The next thing I didn’t like I think is very much down to my prefrence and that was how she described the main female character to look and act very much like her as a real person and described Vincent to look remarkably similar to Pete and this started to feel a little autobiographical in parts – This is just something I don’t enjoy in books because I feel like it lacks a little imagination. Another big thing that I didn’t like was that since the back story was based about 50years previous I assumed it would be set in the 50’s but it was set in the modern day which really confused me when it came to certain characters and things that happened. Finally I will end the bad by saying this book is full of telling and never showing and thats the biggest thing that frustrates me.
I wanted to love this book so much! I thought the idea and the concept sounded brilliant but as I was reading it I was re-writing it in my mind and there were just too many issues for me to rate it any higher than a 2! Having said all this I do think that these are “first novel issues” and these things can all be ironed out in future books she writes, as long as the idea is good you can edit and edit and edit again until all the things I’ve pointed out can be fixed.
Are you planning on reading this book?
Have you read it already, if so do you disagree or agree with my points?
!BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
Okay so I really wanted to go into detail about some of the points I raised that I didn’t like. I’d firstly like to tackle the issue of the mother. She is painted out to be cold, heartless and generally a really mean piece of work. I believe she probably was all these things however Evie is 27! She is an adult and if her mother was half as bad as she made out why on earth was she still living with her. As an adult her mother didn’t legally have to keep a roof over her head or provide for her but she did and this was one of the things that made me think Evie created her own drama. In life, as an adult sometimes you have to take a job that isn’t your dream and work on your dream in your free time especially if you are that unhappy at home. I just don’t understand why both Vincent and Evie didn’t get “normal” jobs to pay for their own lives while pursuing their dreams in their free time it actually made me pretty angry. Your normal 27 year old lives on their own and pays for their own life and doesn’t rely on mummy and daddy to pay their way. If you have a dream that you seriously want to make happen you have to make it happen not barter with your mum to pay for you to go out and try and achieve this when it’s something they don’t even approve of and then complain about it – oh poor little rich girl!
Secondly she fell into the trap of describing her male boss as a sexist, sexual harasser and her colleague as an arrogant “arsehole” which is just so cliche and a trope I hate in chick lit. I wouldn’t have minded it too much if it was set in the 50’s as there was a lot more of it around and there weren’t really many laws about this kind of thing but then you find out it’s modern day and it made me so angry! Also there are laws against unfair dismissal and slander – she didn’t punch anyone, she didn’t encourage Vincent to punch anyone and none of this situation even occurred in the workplace so how on earth did this end up with her getting fired!!
Also just a little thing here but the dove/blackbird part of the plot made me feel very uncomfortable. Writing on a living creature, why? Especially if it’s a bird why not fasten paper notes to it’s foot like a carrier pigeon. This could still have be used a little later with her son, the bird could have kept the notes/taken the notes and made a nest out of them or something similar – why write on a bird seriously! Don’t get it.
Another small thing I wanted to mention was a quote towards the end where Leiffe says something to the affect of “There are some that would never touch a boiled sweet again if they’d been through what you’d been through” – This frustrated me as I can’t see what she has “been through” she has made her own decisions and chose her own situation she has not been hard done to or been forced into the situation she eventually ended up in she decided these things. This kind of goes back to my qualms with how at 27 years old she should have been fending for herself and if she wanted a job and to live a life her family didn’t approve of she should have gone and got a job! The same goes for her brother he was 20 and by the age of 20 I had a degree equivalent after undergoing a 3 year apprenticeship while also working full time and this was so I could afford to live my own life – at 20 (and especially 27!) it is not your parents responsibility to pay your way in the world. Anyway back to the point which is everyone saw her as noble and so lovely because she sacrificed “everything” for others but I just see her as immature and over dramatic. She lived with the situation she herself created and because of that she had a brilliant house, a man who loved her, 2 children, enough money to be cared for and care for her children and that is so much more than many people get.
The final thing I feel like I need to mention is the sheer amount of telling and lack of showing. For example we are told over and over again that Evie’s mum is horrible, mean, and harsh but in my opinion we are never actually shown this, possibly because we are never really shown enough conversations/interactions between them. Another example is the love between Evie and Vincent to me personally we are never shown they love each in the way they talk to each other or their actions we are simply told they do and expected to accept it.