Monday, December 23, 2019

World at War: Christmas at the Foyles Bookshop

Christmas at the Foyles Bookshop. Elaine Roberts. 2019. 297 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Victoria Appleton’s slender fingers clutched the brown envelope in her coat pocket, while the other hand gripped the wooden handle of her black umbrella.

Premise/plot: This historical holiday-themed romance has a light and breezy feel to it despite its world war one setting. Readers should know from the start that it is the third book in a series. The Foyles Bookshop Girls, The Foyles Bookshop Girls At War and then Christmas at the Foyles Bookshop. There is a cast of characters that I'm guessing appear in all the books. The three "main" characters are Victoria, Molly, and Alice. Molly and Alice are married and engaged or engaged and married. One is married with one child and another on the way. The other is engaged and very soon to be married. By the end of the book, she's married. Sadly, I can't really remember which is which.

Victoria, the primary main character, is going through her parents' belongings (after seven years of waiting for no particular reason), volunteering at a local hospital for wounded/recovering soldiers, missing her one-true-love that stopped writing her ages ago, and enjoying her new responsibilities at the bookshop.

The book focuses on the daily lives of the characters. Very little "big" happenings occur. Many, many "teeny-tiny" ones do. For some readers, this means NOTHING happens. But not all readers, perhaps. Sometimes you go on journeys WITH the characters as company.

My thoughts: I didn't mind the slow pacing. I didn't. What I minded a little more was the constant changing focus. I'm not sure you'd say this one has multiple point of view characters. But I'm not sure you wouldn't couldn't say that. It was a bit of a guess at any time WHO the focus would be on and why. This being the third book in the series there wasn't much attachment to any of the characters, especially at the beginning. If I had read the previous two books, I imagine that I would CARE from page one and be instantly drawn into the story. I saw the plot twist coming from miles and miles away. I think any reader could. The book lacks all subtlety there. But even so, I won't spoil the book here in the review. It takes the characters in the book a couple of hundred pages to know what readers essentially know from the first few chapters.

I liked the focus on daily life. I liked the small details, the small things that make life, LIFE. If I had access to the previous two books via library, I would definitely read those and catch up on their lives. 

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Lark 1:10 PM  

Maybe I'll try the first book in this series before deciding if I want to read this one.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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