Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog! After last week’s book review, I’m back with another post of a combo of two books that I recently read that I’d like to talk about. This time, these are two very different books that I just happen to read close together to each other and that I luckily received as an Advanced Reader’s Copy from Netgalley.
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
This atmospheric, unique historical fiction is set in a remote village. What is so particular about this writing style is how we begin in the fifth day after the death of a character in the book. We then go back in time, opposite from the chronological order we are used to in fiction novels, to slowly try and figure out what happened to this man, and how he lived in this small village surrounded by the other villagers.
I loved the snippets of the past and present, of reading our main character Reves’s mind and how she describes the setting. Reves the pastor was nice to read about. We learn so much about him that you just can’t help but really feel for him.
Of course the fact that the entire story is written in a reverse plot is also very fascinating. It changes all the priority, context, and subtext much more intriguing, and Harvey managed to execute it wonderfully. I think I speak for a lot of us when we say that after finishing the book you really want to reread it again to find out what we missed.
Overall, interesting characters and captivating story, incredibly crafted writing style and plot wise it was something that is uncommon in the literary world. However this book didn’t really astound me or wow me, it’s slow, but a little too slow and at times I am reluctant to pick it up. It’s not very incredible or groundbreaking in terms of the topic or the mystery, and all in all I wasn’t much in love with it, unfortunately.
Perfect for readers who like:
- historical fiction with a twist
- slow, character-focused stories
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
- Hard Cider Abbey by K.P. Cecala
They Call Me the Cat Lady by Amy Miller
This sounded in the blurb like a cozy, heartwarming story about a woman who loves cats, have insecurities and would rather spend her free time with her cats than her friends. I love cats, and I’m a huge introvert, so this resonates deeply with me.
It turned out to be much more than that. We begin with Nancy, a very reserved woman who lives with her many cats (whom she named after her deceased loved ones), and works in a school as an administrator. She keeps to herself, doesn’t mingle much with the students, her coworkers, or her neighbours despite their friendly attempts to include her in social events or just to chat about their lives. As we go along with her days we discover the past she has, and why she is the woman she is like now.
I really liked the quite deep themes the book discusses, from loneliness, dark pasts, grief, loss and divorce. However I did find that the book was filled with stories or themes that are just too sugary, cliche’d, and overall just boring to me. I was left feeling like nothing in the book was very realistic, and therefore not substantial and did not evoke my feelings.
In the end it was a very enjoyable book. I wished for more cats, and it made me realise I’m not a huge fan of these feel-good, sweet stories. Indeed it was fun, nicely written, with tons of nice messages in between, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
Perfect for lovers of:
- feel-good adult (women’s) fiction
- cozy mysteries
- The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Huge thanks for NetGalley for providing me with free copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.