I received an advance review copy of this book in return for an honest review. I’m rating it between 3-4 stars, because it is a special book and my review is slightly complicated!
First of all I love books set in the 1920s, in fact I love the 1920s so I was really happy to review this book and its sequel about Daisy’s sister Poppy Edwards, which I’ll be reviewing next. I had a feeling that after reading Marguerite Kaye’s book Never Forget Me set during WWI that the emotion would overrun into these novels and I was not wrong. In fact I found these far more emotional that the stories in that books.
What is important to note first of all is that the story is written in the perspective of the heroine, Daisy, and the hero Dominic Harrington (I loved Harrington btw, as it’s a family name – not that Marguerite knew this one!). So I did find it a little challenging that I had to be directly in the heads of each of them and as the story moved between the two of them it was marked with their names. To be honest though it was well written and cleverly done I personally found that I did not enjoy this and found it a little irritating. I did not let it stop me enjoying the story though.
This story is so much worth the telling – and the opportunity for a romance of redemption for both the characters which is always the sweetest. Dominic has survived WWI against the odds and lost so many people he loves. He has tried to make a new life for himself while leaving things like the family home to rot as he struggles to move forward. Daisy is another thing entirely. She is extremely traumatised by the death of her husband also in the war. So much so she seeks pleasure to continue to numb herself and associates with some of the Bright Young Things and takes drink and as we meet her has injected herself with drugs. Although Daisy is an actress it is almost like she is frozen and not really acting on stage, but acting some kind of existence instead.
Despite the trauma surrounding them they cannot fight the attraction and there are sensual scenes from early on. There are also scenes whereby the past has to be dealt with by both which are particularly emotional and I did find this book hard to read. Please don’t think that I disliked this story however, I found it very worth the while – unfortunately having recently suffered a bereavement it did touch a bit of a nerve. It is not a light read, but it is a romance and love does much to heal in this book.
The Awakening of Poppy Edwards
This is the sequel to The Undoing of Daisy Edwards and again for me fell between 3-4 stars in rating. It is also written in the first person perspective of the hero/heroine like the previous book with their names given as it changes between the two.
I have to say while it is a very minor thing I found the hero’s name a struggle to say and it was a wee bit of a distraction!
The heroine Poppy, sister of Daisy is also an actress in this book but she has fled WWI and its effects by moving to Hollywood to further her career. The hero, Lewis Cartsdyke also works in the business though more for Broadway and he comes across Poppy who is moonlighting while singing in a club.
While she is an actress the talkies haven’t come into play yet she sings when she can as it seems that it is her first love. Lewis wants not only to work with her, but the sexual chemistry between the two sends them to the bedroom early on.
While I found the first book poignant I found this story less riveting and I didn’t like Poppy all that much. She dealt with her sister’s pain by running away to the US, and while we can’t blame her for that it was almost as if she had her head in the sand and had a fabulous career thank you very much without worrying too much about her sister and any sympathy wore thin quickly.
The sexual freedom and methods of early Hollywood wasn’t all that pretty either, and it was harder to feel the romance in this story. It was a nice touch to bridge the gap between the two sisters at the end though and to have both of them take a look at their lives and careers as a new beginning.
I did enjoy seeing stories set during the early twentieth century and it would be interesting to see more experimentation in this area.
Both of these reviews can also be found on my Goodreads page.