This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life
Every once in a while, I am lucky enough to pick up a book that I just can't seem to get out of my mind. This was one of those books. I found myself thinking about this book constantly during the course of my day. I told my daughter about it and anyone else who would listen. I couldn't turn the story off in my head. I just had to know what happened to Florrie and Rosie.
My favorite parts of the book were were set in the late 1800's in London and told from Florrie's perspective. For some reason, I really connected with her character. As her story unfolded during the first half of the book, I was completely mesmerized. I could imagine her as a young child taking responsibility for her younger sister, Rosie. The love that Florrie felt for her sister was incredibly powerful for me.
This story was also told from Tilly's point of view during the early 1900's. Tilly goes to work as an assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw's Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. She soon finds Florrie's journal in her room and becomes interested in what happened and makes a vow to find Rosie. Tilly has things that she needs to deal with in her own life and working at the home along with looking for Rosie seems to help her with that.
I absolutely loved the first half of this book. I loved Florrie and Rosie's story and it really made me think about what it must have been like for a young orphan with a disability living in that time period. I think that the writing did a fabulous job of showing the reader how these children suffered. There were several twists during the first half that caught me completely off guard that I really enjoyed. The style of writing was wonderful with a very distinctive voice for each of the points of view. The characters in this story were so vivid and likeable and I felt like I was right there with them.
I liked the second half of the book but it didn't hold the magic that I felt with the first half. I think that one main reason for that was that Florrie was not as much of a focus. The second half of the novel felt much more predictable for me and I was able to guess how things would end. There was a bit of magical realism thrown in towards the end of the book that I really didn't think added much to the story.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. This story about the love of a sister is moving. This isn't the kind of book that I normally pick up but I am so very glad that I did. This story is one that will stay with me for a long time. This is the first book by Hazel Gaynor that I have had a chance to read but I plan to continue reading her work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.