Book Review: The Night Country by Melissa Albert

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I had been anticipating the release of The Night Country for months before I had it in hand. Essentially within the first moments, I had closed the cover of of the Hazel Wood. I remember immediately looking for the next one. I realize I had happened on the book too early and could not find another from the same author. The Hazel Wood had left me completely inspired. Loved the characters, the concept, the way it was written.

Acquiring The Night Country was a bit of a series of unfortunate events, I ordered a physical copy from Amazon and it just did not arrive. There were mail delays. It was lockdown. One night, I was just completely tired of waiting and hit purchase on my Kobo and bought a second Ebook copy. Back to the Hinterland I went, I thought in anticipation.

I started reading it and had such a tough time getting into it. The protagonist Alice was as feisty and engaging as I had left her. Plenty of intrigue, mysterious murders, descriptions of a world reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, unique characters…

I think my difficulty lies in the romance with Finch who has disappeared into the Hinterland while Alice remains in New York. The two divergent storylines didn’t connect with me. I loved Alice’s storyline in New York but forced myself through the passages with Finch. I was a little bit disappointed as it didn’t enrapture me as much as my initial impression. Some sections felt as if the plot line was stretched out and as if the novel itself was written in a rush.

Regardless I absolutely loved the first novel. Enough for it to be certain that I will buy the next despite having struggled a little to finish sections of this one. I am a diehard fan of Melissa Albert and her writing style.

Melissa Albert subsequently published Tales from the Hinterland. A collection of the fairy tales written by Althea Proserpine. I couldn’t help buying it in hardcover. It is an absolutely gorgeous book. It still have high hopes for the next book in this series.

If you have read this book, I hope you enjoyed it more than I did and if you haven’t read any books by this author, you must absolutely buy The Hazel Wood. You won’t ever want to leave it.

Book review: Hope and Other Luxuries by Clare B. Dunkle and Elena Vanishing by Elena & Clare B. Dunkle

Hope and Other Luxuries by Clare B. Dunkle & Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle

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Read as a pair ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I discovered this pair of books at a time in my life when I needed them. Sometimes, I think Hope and Other Luxuries was able to provide a “friend” who could relate to me in a moment where there wasn’t anyone who could really relate. Someone very important to me was confronting the difficulties of selective restrictive eating disorder management. I was slowly watching them become a shadow of themselves and it was breaking my heart.

A mother and her daughter write individual memoirs narrating their experiences in managing the daughter Elena’s anorexia.

The beauty in this pair of books lies not so much in what is written in the individual books – what renders the accounts truly unique lies in the differences between their recollections.

Hope and Other Luxuries depicts the difficult role of a mother striving to understand what it truly means to be anorexic while tirelessly trying to help manage her daughter’s illness. She witnesses her daughter becoming a shadow of her former self and the reader quickly realizes the cost of hope to a mother who keeps on hoping that being out of the woods is just around the corner.

In Elena Vanishing, Elena recounts the events which occurred throughout her illness and portrays the tortuous self-talk of someone battling anorexia incredibly vividly.

The questions which arise and the differences between the two memoirs taking place within the same time period serves a reminder that we must withhold judgement as we attempt to decipher the “truth” of a situation.

I highly recommend this pair of memoirs, if you, a friend or a loved one is engaged in a struggle to manage an eating disorder and/or any addictive behaviour to be honest.