Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: The Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna Caltabiano

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...




Title: The Seventh Miss Hatfield
Author: Anna Caltabiano
Publication Date: Goodreads states July 17th, Hachette states August. Keep an eye out if you want to read! :)

Synopsis: "Who is Miss Hatfield? Elderly neighbour or girl next door...
There's always been something odd about Cynthia's next door neighbour, Miss Hatfield. Something beyond the strangely familiar miniature photographs and ramshackle house. And when Miss Hatfield tricks Cynthia into drinking a drop of the Fountain of Youth, she finds herself immortal.
She is the new Miss Hatfield and the next in line to the curse and blessing that is her legacy.
But immortality has a price. Becoming the new Miss Hatfield means letting go of who she was.
Tasked by her predecessor with recovering a mysterious painting, Cynthia finds herself in turn of the century New York. But someone else has followed her..."

My thoughts: Firstly, the synopsis is a little frustrating. It states something that I think is a bit of a spoiler, and then sets you up for a different story than what you get. This is kind of why I don't really read blurbs that much anymore.

Anyway, on with my other thoughts. This book was actually quite a pleasant surprise as I actually didn't expect to find myself enjoying it. At 270 pages long, I thought it would just be a quick read-and-review so that I could move onto other things. But then I started really liking some of the characters, and loving the way the main character interacts with them.

One of the things that is being used to market this book (in a way) is the fact that the author is 17 years old. I think this is wonderful, and the fact that Miss Caltabiano is being published gives me hope for my own writing. However I did feel that this showed through quite strongly early on in the book. I don't mean that it showed she was young, but I do believe I sensed a certain hesitant attitude towards the writing, and there were a huge amount of info dumps in the first few chapters. I felt quite overwhelmed with trying to take in the Fountain of Youth thing, and the seven Miss Hatfield's element, and all of the history backing it up. The main character (I will call her Rebecca) seems to get over her frustration with the former Miss Hatfield relatively quickly which, while it helps the story move along at a fast pace, seemed a little hard to believe for me.

Once I was past those first few chapters, though, and Rebecca was on her mission, I really began to warm to the story. Caltabiano has a lovely writing style when she isn't pushing background information into your brain, and I felt myself easing in to the narrative really gently. However, I did find that occasionally things were just a little too convenient to the plot, and I felt a little underwhelmed with the ending, so I found it hard to give this a high rating.

While this book had some slow and frustrating moments, I still really enjoyed the writing style and the character design overall. I think I will look out for future books by this young author.


I received an unsolicited proof copy of this book from Hachette.

You would like this book if: you like books that involve a small amount of time travel, and a little romance, too.

Rating:  6.5/10

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