Friday, 1 August 2014

Book Review | Liverpool Angels by Lyn Andrews

Born at the turn of the twentieth century, Mae Strickland is only a few days old when her mother suddenly dies. Her aunt Maggie brings Mae up together with her own children, Eddie and Alice, and the girls become like sisters. In spite of Mae's unhappy start, life feels full of promise.

Then, as the First World War looms, everything changes. While the local men - including young Eddie - leave to fight, Mae and Alice train as field nurses. As they travel to the front line in the wake of family tragedy, nothing can prepare them for the hardship that lies ahead.

Yet there is solace to be found amid the wreckage of the war, and for both, romance is on the horizon. But it will take great courage for Mae and Alice to follow their hearts. Can love win out in the end?

Pages: 400 | Format: Paperback | Goodreads | Amazon

*Note this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review through Bookbridgr*

From about ages fourteen to sixteen, I was obsessed with Lyn Andrew's books. I used to read them all the time and I had a large collection of them. For a few years now, I haven't read any though, and so when I saw her newest novel was available on Bookbrigr for review, I thought I would request a copy and see if now, at twenty two, I still liked Lyn Andrews books as much as I used to.
I have to say, I did really enjoy this book. I really liked the characters and their journey the devastating years of the first world war. I've read quite a few books before which have been set during wartime, and it's a genre that I really like, and Lyn Andrews writes it well.
I like the way she didn't just tell Mae 's story or Mae's and Alices. There were stories weaved in from them, Alice's brother, and two of their neighbors, as well as the story of Mae's aunt Maggie. By having this open third person narration that wasn't just following one character, it allowed the story to be told from different angles. The girls as nurses in France, the boys as soldiers fighting on the front lines, and Maggie holding down the fort at home in Liverpool.
As in all of Lyn Andrews books that I've read, she has a great talent for weaving emotion into her writing. You feel connected to her characters, and get really invested in their lives and their struggles.
I really enjoyed this book, and I felt it was done really well. There were just two things which I didn't like about this book.
The first was the beginning. I felt like the main story of the book took a really long time to start, in fact, it took a little over ninety pages for it to actually reach 1914, and for a book about nurses during the first world war, it felt really slow that it took so long for the main story to start. For me, all of that buildup felt unnecessary and slow.
Spoilers from here on

The second thing which I didn't love about this book was towards the end of the book. Right at the very end of the book, Alice comes down with the Spanish flu, and I started to think this was a really interesting twist and I was actually on the edge of my seat while reading, and then around three pages later she was fine again. I'm not saying that I wanted her to die, but I felt as though having the whole storyline finished so quickly, made it feel a bit unnecessary. It was as if the only reason it was written in, is because it was a world war one book, and the Spanish flu played such a huge role in the end of the war, that you can't really have a book set in that time period without mentioning it. However, having Alice contract it and get better so quickly, felt a bit like wasted space in the book.
Other than that, I really loved the book and I'd definitely recommend it.



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