Once again it’s time for another A Sweet Spot: Home Book Review. (In case you’ve missed them, you can find my most current book reviews here, here, and here. To read my entire “Books” section of the website, click here.) While I have several book reviews coming up soon for cookbooks, today I’m sharing a novel…and Bristol House by Beverly Swerling is absolutely right up my alley when it comes to novels.
My quick rundown: Dr. Annie Kendall is an architectural historian who has fallen onto some hard times in her life. As a recovering alcoholic and mother who lost custody of her son, at 33 years of age, she’s seen her fair share of struggles. When an opportunity to work in London researching The Jew of Holborn from the 1500s presents itself, she jumps at the opportunity and temporarily moves to London. Now, here’s where things get odd….. While exploring the flat she’s renting, she walks into the back bedroom and sees…….a monk. But not just any monk, a monk from the 1500s, and he disappears as quickly as he arrives, thus introducing a supernatural element into the book. Shortly after arriving in London, Annie is introduced to a handsome journalist named Geoff. He’s smart, successful, and also looks exactly like the monk that Annie saw in her back bedroom. The two become an item and together, set out on a mission to uncover the mystery surrounding The Jew of Holburn, and what, if any connection this has to the monk who continues to make his presence known in Annie’s flat.
What I liked: I love stories that have a historical element in them, and if you can tie in a bit of the supernatural as well, all the better. I felt a real connection to the characters in the book, everyone it seemed, had experienced some sort of extreme trauma in their lives, which added to the connection the reader felt to them.
What wasn’t quite for me: While I feel that this book was a fairly fast read, the middle part did seem to go on a bit for my taste. The storyline gets a bit complex and occasionally I would find myself struggling a bit to catch up. It was nothing so severe that I felt I needed to put down the book, but occasionally, a little re-reading was required to catch my mind up on exactly where we were in the story.
Who will like this book: Fans of The DaVinci Code or similar books will most likely find this book interesting. The book is part novel, part history book, detailing the history of England, Judaism, and Catholicism. The characters are likeable and the relationships between them adds a nice dimension to the story. I very much enjoyed reading this book and wouldn’t think twice to recommend it to others.
Disclaimer: Books reviewed on A Sweet Spot: Home are read as Advanced Review Copies sent directly from the publisher via NetGalley. I do not receive payment for my reviews, and the opinions expressed in my reviews are entirely my own.