The Midnight Library

Given the synopsis of ‘The Midnight Library’ it was clear that this was going to be a heavy read. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that this sat on the bookshelf for a while before being picked up. Based from previous experience from reading ‘The Humans’, I was expecting this to be an amazing read. And lo and behold, it turned out to be exactly that.

Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

It was incredible to join Nora in her journey somewhere between life and death whilst experiencing the sheer amount of different emotions as they melded together. Nora’s story was definitely one of inspiration as she explored just a fraction of the other paths her life could have taken her had she made different choices along the way.

The whole concept of there being a place that is significant to each individual whereby they can see the various paths life could have taken them had they made different decisions was fascinating.  All throughout, there was an undercurrent of philosophical references, which just added to the reflective tone of the story.

One aspect that was brilliant was how the book didn’t just solely focus on changing the significant decisions of Nora’s root life but rather also explored the consequences of changing smaller decisions that were considered to be insignificant and inconsequential. In a way, it was wonderful to see how these decisions not only impacted Nora but also others around her in unpredictable ways. Even the simplest decision was depicted to have unforeseen ramifications.

You don’t have to understand life, you just have to live it

In many respects, it was remarkable to realise the sheer amount of outcomes possible from a change in one single decision. It was intriguing to view about this from a simplified quantum mechanics angle; the whole analogy of everything happening simultaneously and different universes being like tracing paper, on top of each other was highly thought provoking. Being given an inkling of the vast possibilities of how life could have turned out was equal parts dizzying and awe – striking.

Reading about a handful of Nora’s infinite lives was amazing in itself and went on to show that despite popular belief, there is no such thing as a perfect life. The path that we think may have given us the most happiness isn’t in hindsight always what it seems.  

It was nice that each time Nora picked a different life, instead of reading about it from the beginning of that life, we got to see her life from the present day as if she had been living it all along. It was also therefore interesting to see how well Nora was able to fit herself into these parallel lives of hers.

Nora’s characterisation was inspiring; she was clearly broken yet she was a survivor. The story highlighted the pure desperation she felt and had a continual dark undertone to it, but by contrast offered warmth, compassion and hope. The end ‘lesson’ was somewhat predictable, but the journey to get there was incredible.

In a nutshell, this was a heart warming and inspiring read. It was thought provoking and reflective of life especially in consideration of our own regrets. The encompassing message was beyond beautiful. An absolute must read.

Until next time fellow readers,

Saz

P.S. I found out my boyfriend is really a ghost. I had my suspicions the moment he walked through the door.

The Foundling

After having being amazed by ‘The Familiars’, I was curious to see how The Foundling would play out (plus the cover was pretty, it was too tempting not to).  Ordinarily, I don’t think I would have picked it up given the synopsis but I was intrigued nonetheless. Looking back on it (it’s definitely been a while since reading it and getting my musings down), I don’t actually know what I was expecting but do know that I did not regret my decision in the slightest.

This was definitely fast paced right from the get go. The atmosphere of Georgian London was incredible. The way The Foundling Hospital was written about and described was fascinating, giving a real sense of London in the eighteenth century. It was evident that this had been well researched which only added to the authenticity of the book.  The tragic elements entwined with the mystery aspect of the plot made this to be a compelling read.

The two different perspectives complimented each other beautifully, melding well together to give a glimpse in to the difficulties experienced both by Bess and Alexandra. It was fairly easy to sympathise with both women, more so with Bess. When first introduced, Alexandra wasn’t exactly likable. Yet, she started to become the heroine of the story as the plot developed and her perspective was more widely explored. It was evident that her trauma had started to define her, resulting in her outward coldness. Nonetheless, she could certainly be admired in some respects, making her a formidable character. There was no doubt that both Bess and Alexandra had been skilfully written.

Interestingly, at a first glance, both Bess and Alexandra seem to be at complete contrast with each other given their social standing. However, when delving further in to each woman, both depicted similarities with the other, particularly when looking at what a mother’s love will make someone do. It could be said that the sudden change in Alexandra’s character towards the end was unrealistic, which made it feel as if the ending had been rushed.

Basically, this was a wonderfully crafted historical story featuring two strong women as protagonists. As with The Familiars, the writing was amazing; it was easy to get lost within the atmosphere of Georgian London and forget about the present completely. Whist the ending was on the unrealistic side, the story as a whole was brilliant.

Saz