Thursday, February 24, 2022

Book Review: My Fine Fellow


Is that star rating generous, possibly. But I finished it last night and just enjoyed it too much to give it three stars.
World-Building: it's hard to write a historical novel, I'd assume, because you rely on the reader having some sort of knowledge of the time period. However, when you alter the history to, say, give women all this power and education ... probably more time needs to be spent on how different it is from the history we actually remember. I don't know how I wish Cohen had gone about doing this, but I wish instead of thinking I was misremembering history I was fully understanding that this is just an altered version of history. There is an afterward that addresses this a little, but I would have enjoyed more in the course of the story.

Plot: the plot is simple and straight forward. And I LOVED it. It's an easy to read book. It a Pauper to Prince story that we all love. Rags to riches. Two fairy godmothers can bring a pathetic character into his dream role. It was quick paced, but in a perfect way that still let us learn about the characters, there were virtually no subplots which I normally love to see add complexity. So this is the first reason I'm surprised I'm rating it as highly as I am.

Characters: Here is the second reason I'm surprised at my own rating. While I LOVED the characters, they fall into very clear, cliche roles that don't surprise the reader and act exactly as we expect them to. Typically I hate this, but honestly I just really liked these girls (and the fine fellow of course). I like that we get to know them, that we know exactly how they will respond, that two of the three main characters really do grow and develop over the course of the book. It was a good story. I liked it.

Two issues I really did have a problem with. Well, one major, one more minor.

Minor issue: What is that title? I'll never remember it because it has NOTHING to do with the story. It should have been The Gentleman Chef or something.

Major Issue: DO NOT listen to the audio. The narrator takes a GASPING BREATH at the end of nearly every sentence. Like she just saw a massive tarantula crawling on her foot. In fact, when she doesn't take that horrendous breath it can be hard to ascertain if it was the end of a sentence because it is that frequent. I hadn't noticed until Penelope was reading a letter in the end of the first 1/3 of the book. But once I noticed I couldn't stop noticing. It was awful. ZERO STARS to the narrator. Someone should have edited all those gasps out. It was so bad. SO bad.

In the end, I highly recommend it. It was sweet and quick. If you like historical YA you'll love this. But don't get the audio. You've been warned.

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