The Bells of Paradise // book review

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

    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.

   The one thing John the blacksmith loves more than his peaceful, hardworking life in Middleton Dale is the tailor's free-spirited daughter Janet. But unlike John, Janet dreams of adventure beyond the Dale. And when her dreams lead her into Faerie to be captured by a dangerous witch, John realizes he must dare the perilous realm of the Lordly Folk to free his bride.

   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


  1. Sounds cool! Though I would say that her being captured and having her man rescue her is a tad cliché. Does the author play around with that cliché in any way?

    Oh oh oh, please read Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath, if you haven't already. It's so good. The book needs wayyyy more recognition. Link:

    1. Hey, Katherine! :) I can totally see how you would feel that way... And in general, I struggle stomaching a story if there are cliches like that in it! (However it IS a fairytale retelling, so you kinda have to bear that in mind.) But the fact that the "guy-saves-girl" trope came up didn't really bother me? The author did a good job of making the story feel like a classic fairytale that I might pick up from a collection of The Brothers Grimm! So in the end, while it is a piece of plotline that is seen often in literature, I felt like the author did a good job with it. :D

      Oh, I'm buddies with Hannah Heath & I've been wanting to read her book for some time now! I'm glad you reminded me. I'll definitely get on it & see what I can do! <3

      Thanks for reading!

    2. You're right, I forgot to take the fairytale retelling into account. It's good to know it was well done. I'm a fan of Grimms Fairytales, but I haven't read the one this is based on yet. I'll have to go check it out!

      Awesome! I'll be watching for a review. :)

    3. Yeah... I think that is the only thing that I *partially* dislike about retellings. Because you can't change too many of the main factors without changing the story it's based on. (But then again, there are SO MANY ways to freshen up an old story!! *squeals*)

      Strangely enough, I had never heard of/read the original tale before Suzannah contacted me? It makes me really curious to see what the original tale was like! :)

      And I will contact Hannah as soon as possible about me reviewing her book for her! Thank you so much for suggesting it!! :D <3

  2. I was mildly interested... until I saw that this was a retelling of Jorinda and Jorindel. EEP. ONE OF MY FAVORITE FAIRYTALES. I've never seen a retelling of it before!!!

    1. Hey, C.B!! :) Oh, it really is lovely... Actually, I had never heard of Jorinda & Jorindel until this retelling. I really need to go read the original now! Lol! :D

      Thanks for stopping by! <3

  3. I just know I will love this book, Great review!

    1. Hey, Skye! :) Oh, knowing how much you love fairytales, I think you'd LOVE it!! Thanks for reading, dear! <3

  4. This books sounds so fun and awesome!! And I never would have known about it if you hadn't reviewed it, so I tip my hat to you! *tips hat*

    If you have an official rating system, you are automatically a professional. I just sorta rate the book whatever the heck I feel like whenever I do a review (which is only like....three times, lol). Hehe, anyway, this was a great post! I really enjoyed it! :D


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