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Review: Mrs P’s Book of Secrets

Book: Mrs P’s Book of Secrets

Author: Lorna Gray

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 3.5/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Overall: 3/5

Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was a historical novel set in 1946 about the effects of war, grief, loss and how traces of the past always remain in the present. It wasn’t perfect but it still had some interesting themes and was a gentle read for the frosty winter months.

The story was about a woman called Lucy Peuse or Mrs P. who lost her husband in World War II and was struggling to find her feet. She decided to return home to her aunt and uncle and join the small family publishing business, which was barely coping with the paper rationing, to try to help. She ended up getting drawn into the intrigue surrounding the new editor Robert, a former prisoner of war, and the mystery of the Ashbrook family, who they were publishing a book about.

Lucy constantly pretended to be fine, even when she wasn’t, and she didn’t always realise it. The loss of her husband had almost numbed her to herself but gradually the love of those around her made her come to terms with her feelings and rediscover her who she was. She developed a profound connection to the past and learnt the importance of keeping the memories of those who had passed away alive. She was always seen as more vulnerable and insecure by others simply because she was a widow but despite the way she was treated at times, she proved to be perfectly capable of looking after herself. It was nice seeing her and Robert open up to each other and find some peace.

Lucy was an intriguing and complex character although it was quite hard to understand her motivations at times. She was the type of person to obsess over every word said to her and infer hidden meanings that simply weren’t there, sometimes creating an impression of awkwardness. The writing was long and rambling to reflect her way of thinking but the large sections of narration in between dialogue and her confusing train of thoughts did get quite annoying as it felt like the effect was needlessly overdone. What was well done however, was the portrayal of her grapple with her lingering grief and how she was afraid of recalling her husband’s memory because it would just serve as a reminder of how when she lost him, she felt like she lost herself too.

Throughout the story, plot threads were picked up and dropped seemingly randomly so it was hard to see what its purpose was until the end. It seems the main messages were about how the scars of war can be deep and enduring but can also bring people together and about the importance of learning about and from the past whilst looking to the future. But most of all it was about how things that are meant to happen always do, but sometimes in a very roundabout way.

Overall, Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was a pleasant story that was a welcome change from what I usually read, even though it had its flaws.

Thank you to One More Chapter for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions exchanged are my own. I received this book as a part of the author’s #30daysofbookblogs event.

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