Afternoon readers and happy Thursday, it’s a real privilege as always to be asked to be involved in a blog tour and although this one nearly didn’t come about I managed to knuckle down and get the book read and reviewed within a week. However I have made a bit of a dopey mistake and managed to read and review Eleanor’s first book Kicking the Habit. Never trust a tired book blogger. Before I begin, thank you to both Eleanor and to Rhoda from Lion Books for having me as part of the blog tour for New Habits.
At the age of 18, Eleanor goes to France to enter a convent. After four years of struggling with the religious life, she becomes a nun, and then trains as a midwife in a large inner-city hospital in Liverpool. While Beatlemania grips the nation, she is trying to coordinate the demands of the religious life with the drama, excitement and occasional tragedy of the hospital world. Written with honesty and affection, this is an intimate portrait of convent and hospital life.
So as the blurb states the book follows Eleanor a rather adorable young lady as she finds her feet in a French convent. New and a little lacking in terms of the French dialect we see Eleanor grow and train as a midwife. A tale of humour, growth, new life and friendship. In terms of positives this is a wonderfully styled and written book. I really enjoyed dipping in and out of the delightfully described warm stories all connected to equally well written characters. I think what works really well in this book is that Eleanor, the main character is built up so strongly. She’s a little clumsy, naïve, young and tentative but also rebellious, charming and well-mannered. She’s a delightful lady and the author tends to use her as the standing pole throughout, tending to disperse secondary characters quickly and relentlessly, moving through them so we meet a huge variety of characters. See, the book is a little like a documentary; we’re subjected to small plotlines, little narratives, pockets of stories rather than a full blown constantly evolving story. Several stick in my mind as being rather brilliant, one including butter, another a pink corset and the third involving a rather embarrassing but comedic use of the French language. The plot moves with pace, style and humour.
My only real negative is I think the story needed more interweaving plotlines. By focusing on Eleanor it lacked a little depth for me and around a hundred pages in I was wondering when the book was going to grab me by the jaw and start reeling me in, making me need to read on. Now, to back myself up for people that read my blog; I read a lot of ambling books that kind of meander through giving little snippets of characters’ lives and I adore them. But here, there was too much description and not enough of the main plotline for me. Instead it felt to me like a secondary thought. The book instead seemed to favour the want to build up Eleanor and set the scene of the convent. Information and detail took the centre stage and although I learnt an awful lot I must add I wanted more. Despite this it did progress a lot during the third section of the book where we learn of her experiencing being a midwife but it was a little too late to really make me fall utterly in love with this book because my attention was waning a little.
Potential is the word that springs to mind; for me another character or two introduced more fully and given their own story lines, just to bring more of a plotline would have really helped to sustain my attention because despite my inability to give in on a book I did start to find it starting to get a little repetitive. However, despite this I really loved reading this because the writing is so good, it ambles and flows beautifully and I fell in love with Eleanor throughout.
So, before I go, slap on the wrist for Lizzy for reviewing the wrong book, however you will have a review of New Habits in the coming weeks as a follow-up to this review. If you do want to see a little more about Eleanor’s new book, go and look at all the blogs featured in this blog tour who have reviewed the correct book and let me know what you think!
The sequel to the popular Kicking the Habit! When Eleanor Stewart abandoned her vows and her life as a nun, she found herself in the middle of the swinging Sixties – and soon joined in. Boyfriends, parties, and mini-skirts took the place of silence and restraint, as she pursued her career as a midwife and the men she met with equal commitment. Troubled by her relationship with her mother, and what she saw as a growing estrangement from her faith, she finally falls in love and settles down – only to discover her past catching up with her, as she faces infertility. But with her husband at her side, they battle to adopt two children. Will the dream of a happy family, that drove her out of the convent, finally come true?