Title: Martini Henry
Author: Sara Crowe
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK, Doubleday
Date: June 16th, 2016
Source: from Publisher for a review
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Life isn’t an exact science. Things can be troublesome. Like pregnant step-mothers, the ins-and-outs of French existentialism . . . having an unexceptional name.
In 1988, seventeen-year-old Sue Bowl has a diary, big dreams and £4.73. What she wants most of all is to make it as a writer, as well as stop her decadent aunt Coral spending money she doesn’t have.
Living in their crumbling ancestral home should provide plenty of inspiration, but between falling in love, hunting for missing heirlooms and internship applications, things keep getting in the way.
So when a young literary professor moves in and catches Sue’s eye, life begins to take an unexpected turn . . .
From the author of Campari for Breakfast, a witty and enchanting novel about what happens after you think you’ve grown up and fallen in love, perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle, Love, Ninaand Where’d You Go Bernadette.
From the very moment I heard (or should I say read) about Martini Henry being published, I had a strong feeling this novel will be right for me. I was right.
It was totally my cup of tea, that I enjoyed with cups and cups of tea.
The story follows Sue Bowl who goes to Greece to participate in creative writing course. There, she stumbles upon a book called FOR THE CONCERN OF THE RICH AND THE POOR. She realizes that book she found is not the one of fiction genre, but is probably a work of someone who knew her predecessors, as some of things that happened there were happening on her aunt’s property.
Martini Henry is written in one of the most interesting ways I have ever came across.
There is a Sue’s diary from where we follow the main story and it is the biggest part of the book.
Sue want to be a writer and, even though she doesn’t have a college degree, she reads a lot and is very skilled when it comes to expressing herself.
She likes to use big words and everytime she learned the new one she likes to make a note about it.
Then, there are notes, letters and lines Sue receives or sees while we follow her story.
We also get a glimpse of her work of fiction and can see how her personal life reflects on her writing.
Along with all that, Martini Henry contains small parts of FOR THE CONCERN OF THE RICH AND THE POOR, a 3000 pages long book that Sue reads.
There is so many good things I want to say about Martini Henry that I don’t even know where to start…
The writing style is really good and so beautiful, I would even dare to call it perfect.
Sue’s story takes place in 1988 and it really felt like it was written in that time period.
FOR THE CONCERN OF THE RICH AND THE POOR takes place after 1850 and, because I never read any book from that period in english, I can’t judge if the writing was authentic. However, I can tell that it sounded like it could be and that the writer captured the difference between Sue’s and London’s (that is the narrator of FOR THE CONCERN OF THE RICH AND THE POOR) in a really, really good way.
I also want to state that the book Sue was reading wasn’t there just for the sake of being, but had it’s own function and it intertwined with Sue’s story.
Martini Henry is a piece of literary fiction. That means, it’s pacing is on the slow side.
It took me some time to really get into this book (I would say something like 70 pages) and I think taking my time with it was the best decision I have made, because I really feel like I experienced Sue’s story in the best possible way.
The same goes with it’s characters too. It took some time to get to know them but after I used to them I got attached to them as well.
Sue, her aunt Coral and Joe were my favorites (especially Joe).
This is story is not just about chasing a dream, but is also about self discovery and about relationships with people around us.
As you may know, english is not my native language and I often like to emphasize that I am still in a learning process.
Thanks to this book, I discovered so many new words that now I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to expand his vocabulary.
Not only did Sara Crowe did an amazing job when it comes to presenting this story to us in an attractive way, but I feel like the editors did a perfect job too.
We can clearly see that there has been so much effort put in order to bring this book to life, especially closer to the end.
If you ask me, all their hard work was worth it.
A copy of my Martini Henry goes to my special shelf where I keep my very few books that I want to reread many times in my lifetime because I feel like I can learn something new from it everytime I read it.