Thank you to Lorna Gray for inviting me on this celebration of the publication of Mrs P’s Book of Secrets and also Lorna’s tribute to all the book bloggers who read and review lots of lovely books. The 30 Days journey started back in mid December last year and it’s been so interesting hearing about how other book bloggers started, what motivates them and sharing their love of books. Special thanks to Lorna for organising this tour as I imagine a lot of work has gone into posting everyone’s interviews every day. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this.
About the Book
There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.
The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.
But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.
For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss…
What I thought
I will admit, I found this quite a difficult book to read and like. The actual story is fine, it’s the style of writing I had difficulty getting my head around. It is set in 1946 and yet I felt I was reading something written more in the era of Jane Austen. For me it just didn’t flow, there were so many sentences or even paragraphs that I had to read and re-read to try to understand what Lucy (Mrs P) the main character was thinking. She seemed to have odd lines of thought. There were a lot of assumptions made, especially by Lucy which more often than not led to misunderstandings and incorrectly drawn conclusions about the characters in the book she associated with. I sometimes thought Lucy came across as a little stand-offish with the people she had acquaintance with at the publishers.
If you’re a lover of literary fiction then you’ll be right at home with this book. You’ll enjoy the intricate play on words and it will take you back to a time when writing was an art form. However if you’re looking for fast paced, with plenty of dialogue between characters then maybe this might not be quite your fit.
But then the slow pace and gentle exchanges between characters may well be how the author intended this book to be; to make the reader really think about the emotions of Lucy and how she was affected by the loss of her husband.
The dialogue between characters was easy enough to understand in the main. I liked the detail about methods of printing that was briefly included in part of the book and would have enjoyed more of this as I found it really interesting. For anyone who uses WordPress and has ever wondered what a ‘slug’ is, well your answer to its origins is right here in this book.
I enjoyed the ending when the mystery is resolved. Although until the end I didn’t notice there was a mystery. There is also an authors note at the end of the book which I found really helpful and explains the ideas behind the story.
All in all I think if the book had been written in a different style, it would have been easier to understand, as the premise of the book is good. I just felt that most of the way through I was scratching my head because at times I couldn’t make head nor tale of what was going on until the very end.
Before writing my thoughts, I re-read the closing chapter and the author notes and realised that this may well be one book that is worth reading again. I think it’s possible that the whole story would make much more sense to me second time around. It is certainly not a book to be hurried.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
The book is available on Kindle now and will be released in paperback on 5 March 2020
With thanks to the publisher One More Chapter via Netgalley for an ARC of this book.
Lorna Gray is passionate about understanding the past and takes much of her research from spoken history. She loves the fact that writing gives her the excuse to ask people about their memories, and treasures the unique little insights that every new conversation has to offer.
She writes post-WWII fiction and is published by an imprint of Harper Collins. Her titles are In the Shadow of Winter, The War Widow, The Antique Dealer’s Daughter and newest release Mrs P’s Book of Secrets.
She is also a published illustrator and her work has featured in a number of archaeological reports, children’s books and non-fiction titles.
Above all, Lorna loves a good adventure. She doesn’t mind whether it comes in the form of a good book, a film or rambling about the ruins of a castle as long as it is guaranteed to have a happy ending. She is married and lives in the Cotswolds, UK. She is very active on Facebook and would be delighted to meet you there.