You may recall the post I shared last week on the RONE awards where Henry’s current book, Ostrich Mentality is up for an award. Or you may know her from her fantastic blog. Either case… this is definitely a book that fit into many of my reading / genre preferences. I highly recommend it for any historical fiction fans looking for witty British dialogue. Let’s get to the review…
Lady Margaret Leighton served in World War II administering to injured soldiers coming back for rest and treatment. She fell in love with one of the patients, but lost the opportunity to stay connected with him. After Margaret arrived home, her mother wanted to find a suitable husband while her father wanted her to work for his company. Margaret wanted nothing to do with that! She learned that the soldier she had met became an actor, which pushed her to try to become an actress (to meet him). When that didn’t work, she decided to become a scriptwriter. It all began to come together, but then it soon all fell apart. Throw in a few side stories with her best friend, Lila, her two brothers and their wives, and a couple of other characters she meets in the film business, and you’ve got a nice romantic historical drama with levity and charm.
Henry’s writing style is witty and seamless. I wouldn’t call it a classic ‘page-turner’ (as I think that’s more for suspense and thriller books), but there’s something about the story and characters that push you to read just a bit more than you planned each day — in that respect, it’s a new kind of page-turner! I read the book over two days, sitting for about an hour each time, finding myself wanting to read more but also wanting to let some of the actions and themes settle in for analysis and thought. Margaret is probably a very typical woman of her time, but she’s also got an energy and a drive that you don’t often see in people. She’s persistent and will make her re-connection to the soldier happen no matter what. But it’s the surprises life has in store for her that make this extra special.
Henry’s characters are charming. The mother is definitely not a character we’re supposed to like. She’s not awful, but there’s enough of a wall and attitude that we have good conflict for Margaret to face. The relationship with her father is charming and has both ups-and-downs, which is very typical of someone in her situation — that’s what makes the book so readable. You care just as much about her family life as you do her professional life. It’s in her professional life where we see her shine, but when her heart is broken, you feel the sadness over the loss just as much as she does.
Much of the detail in the book is very well-thought out and intricate. Given the time frames are ~70 years ago, the film business is way more complicated than an average reader probably knows, and the specifics of the war are frequently referred to, it’s obvious how much energy and effort went into researching this novel — it’s also what makes it all the more appealing for a reader when there’s something to learn but also truly transport you to the historical place and time.
Kudos to Henry for gaining a new fan with this 4.5 star book. I’m looking forward to picking up more of her work later this year. She’s even nominated for a RONE award on one of her latest pieces. Nice!
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.