Thursday, 19 April 2018

Book Review | A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan

Kindle and pink flower display

With a failed relationship behind her, a business on the rocks and a flat that’s falling apart around her ears, she could really use some luck.
Elena Banbury, née Guseva, an elderly but imposing Russian woman who is Harriet’s neighbour and landlady, frequently entertains the punters at Harriet’s jewellery stall with tales of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the treasures of Fabergé. But Harriet sometimes feels, guiltily, that she could do without the endless errands that seem to fall to her as Elena’s friend.
Then, unexpectedly, when Elena dies, she leaves all her worldly goods to a grateful Harriet. In time, however, it becomes clear that others are shocked by Harriet’s good luck, too. Shocked... and very, very unhappy.
Challenged in court by Elena’s family who live in Berlin, Harriet is forced to give up her inheritance and long-dreamed-of plans for a new business, and start her life again. But with her reputation in tatters and the memory of Elena tainted, Harriet knows a great injustice has been done.
Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.
In the weeks that follow she meets rich and poor, the glamorous and the criminal, the honest and the secretive, and begins to see that perhaps she has something to learn from them all. Something to learn about herself, and something to learn about her priorities.
She knows she has to fight for justice. But, when she meets the scholarly, perceptive Neil, who generously tries to help Harriet in her mission, but who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll fight for love, too...

A Single Journey

by Frankie McGowan

Publisher: Endeavour Press
ISBN: 9781911445531

Waterstones - Paperback


A Single Journey is an insightful and mesmerising tale set in Berlin, Germany. Following Harriet as she discovers how unpleasant life can be, A Single Journey witnesses a flurry of events which aren't all pleasant and we embark on a journey of self discovery and the meaning of life.

Starting off with Russian landlady Elena, Harriet aids in the sale of jewellery to the gentry in addition to making ends meet in the small stall. Keeping a watchful eye on what is said out in public, Harriet learns a great deal from the imposing neighbour and then inherits all her worldly goods. But it doesn't last with interfering family members who feel they are hard done by.

A Single Journey clearly demonstrates the difficult circumstances which often follow a death, which is written in a tasteful but imposing manner. The tone of superiority and heart pulling emotions are felt throughout the book, giving each event a meaning both in the story and for afterthoughts.

What I've loved most about A Single Journey is the depth of the characters involved in the plot. Every character has their own story which blends seamlessly into the overall storyboard and they all bring different experiences and questions with them. A love interest in the form of Neil also surfaces, which in itself raises it's own story and questions of loyalty, decency and affairs of the heart.

As historical fiction goes, A Single Journey has captured some of the fear that was once felt in Germany which to me illustrates a phenomenal writing capability. To feel part of the story is a gift which I truly felt while reading. For the flip side of wartime provinces, Christmas At Woolworths is a book I'd definitely recommend for the English side of the war.


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