Sunday, 14 August 2016

Book Review: Martini Henry

Martini Henry
By Sara Crowe
Published by Transworld
Available in hardback and ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

Cross between Adrian Mole and a younger version of Bridget Jones's diary, Martini Henry, Sara Crowe's witty second novel, tells the story of Sue Bowl as she tries to find her place in the world.

Sue is only 18 years old but thinks she has life sussed and knows exactly what will happen in her life - she will inherit her aunt's house, she has a boyfriend and she wants to be an epic writer. Yet reality seems to get in her way...

Having been on a writing course in Crete, she is called back to England as her stepmother is having a baby. Leaving behind her fellow students and an idyllic spot on the beach, she rushes back to be with her family. Back at home, living in a crumbling stately home with her aunt and lodgers, Sue is waiting around for her life to begin.

Yet, she soon discovers that for her life to begin she must take the first step. The glitzy life she imagines is just out of reach so she must embark on an adventure to get to her imagined life. She is determined to get an internship at the local newspaper and while on this quest ends up working as a waitress, complicating her love life and also becomes tangled up with finding out about the history of her aunt's home. The reader follows Sue on her mishaps as she forges a path through life's wobbles as she soon realises that reality is much harder than she first thought. Yet at no point in the novel does she become cynical and jaded - she is still optimist and positive as she deals with whatever life throws at her.

Written in the form of a diary and letters, there are also extracts from a biography of London Taylor who in the Victorian age worked in the home that Sue shares with her aunt. Both characters are trying to find a place in society and both are finding that the things they are doing doesn't necessarily fit with society's expectations.

This is a charming coming of age novel, full of funny antics and also times where you just want to shout at Sue to grow up and to face reality.

You can buy Martini Henry from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy by the publisher.

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