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Make Do And Mend Paperback – May 18, 2014
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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Let's not muck up your pleasure--I am not going to disclose Harry's background and Jim's real identity here. Nor will there be any spoilers which are, in effect, the secrets each of them hold. What I will say is that this is a book for sedate pacing with a snifter, or tumbler, at your side.
You will not likely finish it in a day or so, and that is all to the better, because you will not want to leave these two and their dedicated crowd--even the thorn in their side who tries to stir up angst but simply cannot overcome a love that will not say "no." Perfect title, as well. Bravo!
I did like that while the danger of the law and the danger of its repercussions was always there, there were people who were willing to accept their family and friends for who they were, which I truly believe did happen in history, and I feel that Jack and Kitty were set up as characters who were capable of those choices from the beginning so that was not surprising in the slightest to me. Thomas was a bit over the top, although I did appreciate the attempts to make him a real person who was believable. I liked that Joan and her decision to marry a man like Thomas was explained- her need to support and protect her children when she knew that she couldn't count on her brother financially made sense and choosing Thomas, despite the fact that he's kind of a giant tool box but a tool box with money and stability does make sense. The only ding I would give this book is that there isn't a lot of explicit sex in the book, which is fine, but the one time where the author does get as close to graphic as you'll see in this book, it's not between Harry and Jim, but between Harry and another man, trading sex for favors. I was disappointed that their encounter was much more graphic and explicit than anything that we saw between Harry and Jim. I would have much preferred to have just had that encounter been alluded to rather than be so blunt if we weren't going to have as much or more with those that we cared so much for.
This is a bit of a slower read, but one that is worth every moment. I would recommend this book to readers of historical romance and those that enjoy m/m stories. The love story is sweet, despite the lack of descriptive sex. Not for those looking for porn, but great for those looking for deeper connections.
I wrote down my ratings and then, of course, I had to sit back and think about it for a bit. This is by no means a flashy book. However, this quiet story - taking place during the most turbulent of times - is extremely well-balanced, well-paced, well-developed and has a great deal of heart. I love stories of slow blooming romance and this one fit my requirements perfectly. Our two protagonists are depicted in beautiful terms. I particularly liked Jim, the conscientious objector, who has made his stand based on his personal convictions but has no axe to grind and is not without regrets over his decision. The fact that he is far too tenderhearted to survive battle is something he doesn't admit to, but is depicted so well in his refusal to tend the animals on the farm and his anguish over the dying lamb. I have downgraded my ratings just slightly, as I felt a few of the characters came across as too conveniently black or white. Given the author's detailed rendering of people living during the extremities of war, I felt that characters such as Harry's brother Thomas came across a little too flatly unlikeable while others, like Mrs. B who ran Harry's boarding house, seemed almost too accepting of Harry's and Jim's relationship. Overall, though, I loved the book - what a pleasure to read.
For me, best of the 5; Great setting, very interesting and little known; authentic develop. Plot really good (until the end; maybe that crime wasn’t really necessary, but a means to bring them together maybe) A little bit too well meaning people in the end; but main characters well laid out and endearing. Writing excellent, a deep knowledge and good “mix” of English and Welsh.
The setting was clear and alive, immersing the reader in the time and place. The historical details appeared accurate. Characters were well-drawn and fully fleshed. The writing style was lovely (the only problem I noted was the frequent use of character names in the dialogue, which was generally unnecessary). This is a complex, literary novel, the kind that's generally described as "quiet." I enjoy that kind of novel, but with this one, it me a long time to get invested in the story. The main character didn't seem to have a goal or desire that was driving the action. Early on, the plot seemed like a series of events -- bridging plots until the main plot got moving about 150 pages in. Self-denial is a theme, so the protagonist's willingness to avoid pursuing his desires made sense, especially during wartime. Yet making the protagonist's desires more clear, and showing the self-denial on more of a continual basis, would have upped the stakes for the reader and increased the emotional payoff when the desire was fulfilled. I loved this story, but I might have missed out on it by putting the book aside when the opening chapters didn't draw me in.
This book has stayed with me long after I finished reading it, and was hard to banish from my mind enough to start another book. The book was written in a style which I found reminiscent of the tone of wartime British films – slightly formal and cut glass accents. However, underneath this slight formality the real tenderness and affection was very apparent between characters – both main and secondary. It had an interesting and complex plot which was well pace and always kept me gripped. It was a clever idea to make the main source of conflict the fact that one of the characters was a conscientious objector, rather than the fact he was a homosexual. The characters were nicely rounded and varied, and behaved in keeping with the times. The British setting was well drawn and the description of the rural community rang very true. I think this book is really up there with the winners.