Sunday, 2 March 2014

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase - Book Review

A good read that could have been much more.

It came as a pleasant surprise when I tucked in, that there was not one but two stories running simultaneously; set in the past and the present.

The story begins with Roberta, the heroine who works in a second hand book shop and loves to collect forgotten letters, postcards left behind in books. Interestingly, each chapter that tells Roberta's story starts off with a discovery of a letter or a postcard and the details of the book that she finds it in. I was eagerly looking forward to a treat, but admit to some disappointment by the time I got to the end.
Shuffling through the pages of a book, Roberta chances upon a letter written by her grandfather to her grandmother, raising doubts and forcing her to dig into the past and unearth a long hidden family secret.

As the story flashes back to her grandmother, Dorothy Sinclair, her circumstances and life during the war, the story starts off with a bang but meanders down the middle. Although it is well written, the plot seems a bit stretched. Perhaps the focus was more on painting wartime lifestyle setting and how people lived then but it slows down the plot and makes it more predictable.

However, it is Roberta's story that is more interesting as it strikes a very contemporary note of isolation, the bonding of colleagues at the workplace and eventually the romance with her employer.

The book is very well written, Walters has a turn of phrase which makes it a delightful read. Mrs. Sinclair's story wans a bit although Walters' description of life during the war has an authentic and pictureseque ring to it.

What works for it:
The flashback/flash forward technique of story telling, strong female characters and well written descriptions

What doesn't:
Predictable plot that stretches out in the middle and hurriedly goes about resolving itself in the end.

My recommendation:
The blurb and the one liner builds up a lot of hype that is unfortunately is not delivered by the novel. However it is an enjoyable read and look forward to reading more from Ms Walters.

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