#bookreview – Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik @RachelMalik99 @PenguinRHUK

On Saturday I posted a guest post by Rachel Malik about trials in fiction as part of the blog tour for Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. At that point I had just finished the book but hadn’t written my review. I can now share my review with you and rather than giving you all the blurb, buying information and author bio again, I would refer you to Saturday’s post.

I think there is something very appealing about books with the names of the characters in the title. Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves spoke to me of the people within, it made me curious as to what their story would be.

Elsie Boston lives at Starlight and runs the farm there single-handedly. It’s wartime and she is under more scrutiny because of the importance of farms during that period. She takes on a land girl, Miss Hargreaves, who is less a girl than a woman, with quite a back story. This character is based on the author’s own grandmother, a story which is fascinating.

Over 20-30 years these two women form a strong alliance, one that we are left to draw our own conclusions about. It’s a touching relationship, a happy friendship. Until something quite shocking happens to shake their very existence, something that I could never have imagined would happen.

This is a gentle, touching, yet surprising tale. So much is implied in the writing, and yet I thought it was quite easy to know just what was implied. This is a testament to Malik’s writing style that she was able to achieve this.

I don’t think this is a book that should be rushed, indeed it cannot be rushed. Given that it’s under 300 pages I was expecting to finish it a little quicker than I did but I just couldn’t plough through it and needed to give it the time it deserved.

I think I most of all enjoyed reading about the day to day lives of these ladies. They didn’t have much but they made the most of what they did have and lived a simple existence. Until all of a sudden they are forced to share their private lives with the world. The final third or so of the book is set around a trial in Winchester and is slightly different in pace, for both the characters and the reader.

I enjoyed this book for the most part and found it very interesting and very well-written. Every now and then my interest waned slightly – perhaps the detail was a little bit much or it was a little too gentle for my tastes. Overall, though, it’s a lovely tender love story and a very accomplished debut for Rachel Malik.

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