Friday, 30 May 2014

Guest Book Review: Louise Walters - Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase

Reviewed by Danielle Pullen

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong...

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Roberta has the job that most of us book-devourers would love. She works in an independent bookshop, head-high in piles of books, many of which have been pre-loved. The shop is owned by Philip and there are various other employees who affect Roberta’s working life.

Outside of work, Roberta is a rather lonely soul with a very ill father and a geriatric grandmother taking up her time. She seems to live vicariously through the notes, postcards and other ephemera she finds tucks into the books in the shop. But one particular find alters the course of her life…

Roberta’s father gives her a suitcase which once belonged to her grandmother and, tucked inside, she finds a letter which forces her to question her family’s origins and the connections between the previous generations of her family. The problem is, how will she ask the questions she needs answering? Her father is ill – can she broach the difficult topics with him? Her grandmother’s memory is failing – are her memories likely to be reliable?

Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase weaves the story of Roberta and her grandmother (Dorothea’s) earlier life during the Second World War. The interchanging of narrator is very successful and, unlike other novels I’ve read that utilise this device, I felt that the two characters were distinct enough to carry the plot and Walters differentiates the character’s voices well.

While it is unlikely that this novel will stir feeling in you and make you think like more literary texts might, I did enjoy reading Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase very much and felt that it was a well-written, light read. I’ll look out for Louise Walters in the future.

I'd like to thank Wishlist for sending me a copy of this book and Danielle for reviewing it for for the blog.  

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