Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Nightingale (book review)

I love this book not for the plot, the time period, or the style of writing. I fell in love with "The Nightingale" almost instantly because of the characters.

Tough housekeeper Katie, who lets her pet cat (Simon) boss her around.
Misguided Seena, who uses her beauty to make men's heads turn - and then ends up causing a tragedy.
Poor rich Mike, who hates working in a pickle factory but can't see a way out of it.

And then there's shy Joe, poet Violet, noble Mr. Halifax, passionate Jake, and many more who live in the small town Ladykirk, around which the book is centred.


There's something about the characters that makes you like them instantly - they're just normal people blundering their way through the tangles and snarls of life. Precious treasures are stolen, people are wrongly accused, and Katie cries for days when Simon goes missing. Not that she doesn't care about the treasure, or the people, but she really does love that cat.
There's something so cosy about small towns where everyone knows each other. "The Nightingale" is the kind of book that makes you want to hole up inside with a warm drink and maybe a cookie or two as you read. In such a short time the characters stop being words on a page and start being real people who you laugh and cry with.
You can practically hear Katie scolding Simon in the back room, can see the lights blinking out early in Joe's cottage, can feel the disapproving gazes of the town gossipers resting on your shoulders. And isn't that the best kind of story?
The one that comes alive?
Plot-wise, I'll give this book a 4/5 stars. Yes, it's a romance, and yes, the girl does get her man (you always knew she would) but Turnbull makes this novel so much more than just a love story. The author took a fairly mainstream love story and added missing heirlooms, suspicious townspeople, a mysterious pen pal from the publishing company that Violet submits to, and a horrifying tragedy (that, by the way, I never in a million years saw coming.) While the ending is still somewhat predictable, the twists and turns that happen during the story kept me pages turning quickly.
The characters really make this story the beauty that it is, so I'll give them a 6/5 stars. As I said above, they're so real. There's so much I want to say, but I don't think I can. I'll be reading this again, though, probably numerous times.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody (especially if you like Anne of Green Gables or any of Jane Austen's books.)
I hope you're all having a spectacular weekend - I sure am. ♥

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