Hello, lovely people! Today I am pleased to announce that I have entered a new stage in the life of a book-blogger. Near the end of last month I had the chance to receive an advanced copy of a novella & read it before it was released! *squeals happily* And today I am going to review it & gush about it to you guys. So please put your hands together for The Bells of Paradise by Suzannah Rowntree!! (Which you can purchase on Amazon right here...)
"Only a madman would go into Faerie of his own accord.
A poignant and profound retelling of the Grimms' fairytale Jorinda and Joringel, set in the fantastical realms of Elizabethan folklore. Novella, approximately 25,000 words." (summary via Goodreads)
The story revolves around the introverted John, the free-spirited Janet (both of which are adorably squishable characters!! *squeals*), & their crazy adventures in Faerie Land. Janet, being a dreamer with wanderlust in her veins, wanders off into the woods and gets captured by an evil witch. And John, being the
undeniably perfect & swoon-worthy loyal gentleman he is, takes on the task of rescuing her.
First of all, I'm not gonna lie: I am a sucker for a good quest/adventure tale. I love seeing the underdog take on an impossible task and take crazy risks to reach his goal. There is something so satisfying in reading about a "normal" person taking on extraordinary tasks! This book satisfied my appetite for a suspenseful journey, for new, magical cultures, and a little sprinkling of romance... *waggles eyebrows mischievously*
John is the main character. And he is awesome, okay? He is so completely human & at the same time so completely loyal and brave! I felt like he wasn't the typical cookie-cutter hero who is "practically perfect in every way" because he got angry, he wasn't overly curious about life outside their village, and at the same time he is so unbelievably stubborn & loyal! And he is super dedicated to Janet...
Which brings me to Janet. She is so adorable! She is curious, a dreamer, wants to travel, and is basically John's opposite in almost everything. She has a slight obsession with anything mysterious and Faerie-like, and she is also a tad too trusting; both of which end up contributing to the start of the whole story.
I loved John and Janet's relationship with one another! I love how they are both opposites & how their differences make them stronger when they are together. I also like how gentlemanly and ladylike they both are, even when they are upset or frustrated. And I adore their dedication to one another... *sighs dreamily*
A few other specific things that I liked...
~The writing-style! It was not overly flowery and difficult, but it still had a distinct fairytale feel about it. Writing style is a BIG deal to me, and this one was lovely.
~The contrast between light & darkness! There was something eerie & hauntingly beautiful about the Lordly Folk, and John's simple Middleton Dale ways made a pretty contrast. (There are other instances, but spoilers!)
~The subtle undertones! Anyone who knows anything about my taste in books knows that I need a story with an underlying theme. I like stories that make me think through things & make me reflect on life. However, I cannot bear it when fictional stories become sermons. The Bells of Paradise was not like that at all! I feel that Suzannah Rowntree did a splendid job of weaving in a biblical theme(s)/moral(s) without it seeming like a preachy Aesop's Fable.
Um... Basically nothing?? Haha! I really can't think of anything I wholeheartedly disliked about The Bells of Paradise. All around, it was a great story!
The only slight thing I can manage to think of is just a minor thing that I had difficulty with. I slightly struggled with switching back-and-forth between the timelines in the different chapters of the story, but it was just a personal thing. It wasn't enough to ruin the story or anything! (To be honest, I think part of it was because I read the story on the iBook app on my phone, which is already hard on my eyes, but I am also in need of new glasses, so that probably contributed to it. Lol! #blindreader)
Anywho, I have no complaints & I would totally recommend this to anyone who enjoys fairytales, quests, adventures, and beautifully written allegories.
The Bells of Paradise by Suzannah Rowntree
hereby receives 4 out of 5 stars from me
for being an enjoyable read!
(I enjoyed it!)
Thank you so much to Suzannah for offering me an advanced copy! It was a privilege to be able to read it. Everyone be sure to go congratulate her on this newest release! And leave a comment down below to share what YOU liked best about The Bells of Paradise. (If you have read it. And if you haven't, go find it & then leave a comment! Lol!)
Hey, guys, look! I have an official book-rating-star-system now! Aren't I becoming oh-so-professional?? Hehe... No, don't answer that. But if you have any books you would like me to review, lemme know & I'll see what I can do for you. (Also, if for some reason you like knowing what I think about books, you can follow me on Goodreads to get updates on my most recent readings.)
Currently Reading: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Just Finished: The Diary of Anne Frank
Listening to: "Hercules" by Fly Away Hero