Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr
Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn't Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte's sardonic cousin Harry...
So I eagerly grabbed this to review because so many people on Twitter were talking about it as it's publish date loomed and I couldn't resist. It had been described as a modern classic and I feel like it fully deserves that title.
There are certain time periods I like more than others. I love the movies and the music of the 80's, the glamour of the 1920's and the dresses, hair and makeup of the 40's and 50's, so the fact that this is set in the 50's? Well I knew I was going to like and have the urge to start dressing in a distinctly 50's kind of way. The small illustrations throughout the book didn't help to quell the urges either.
The thing I loved most about the book was the way the author created 1950's London. The era came alive off the page and was thoroughly enchanting, I felt like I'd stepped in to a time travel machine and visited the era once I had finished reading and found myself rather said I could never properly experience the era for myself, although the book goes a long way to assuage that feeling. It's very vivid and the world is created so incredibly well that you find yourself lost in the pages.
The characters were another part of the book that I enjoyed while reading, they were quirky, realistic and came alive as you were reading, I couldn't help but develop an affection for each of them, even the more annoying ones. Or at least the ones I found annoying. I won't name names. Anyway, I found myself forming a connection with Penelope as I was reading and came to really care about her and what was going to happen to her, I feel like she was incredibly believable especially when she got to go to the concert and well....the thing happened. I guarantee every single female has felt that way seeing a band/performer they really love live let alone being singled out!
Charlotte was another character I loved a little bit more than the others, purely for one comment she made about laziness. I mean....I couldn't agree more really.
I can't really put my finger on why I found myself continuing to read, it's not my usual cup of tea, I'm more a YA and fantasy kind of person and rarely find myself picking up a book such as this, but all the hype and the setting made me want to read it. I think this is a book I'll come back to again and again, much like classics I enjoy re-reading when the fancy takes me.
The thing is, I was hooked on the book before anything had really actually happened, I'm not entirely sure how it happened so I'll credit the characters, writing and the world because it was a combination of all three that got me lost in the book. The little tidbits of her older self provided fantastic little insights about the upcoming future, and were slotted in quite nicely.
While the book is an easy and fun read, it also has a lot of depth and reminded me slightly of Pride and Prejudice but obviously with a different plot...and setting...and characters. I should also note that some of our favourite plots that we don't like to admit to liking unless under duress, are present in this book which just gave it a certain something to make this book lodge itself in your heart.