Thursday 12 May 2022

The Twenty-One Year Contract - L. B. Griffin

Kathleen Gray -- talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular -- has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her -- he has a business to run and his own life to manage. Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

What did I think?

Having read and adored Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, I couldn't wait to read the sequel, The Twenty-One Year Contract and I am delighted to say that it is just as outstanding as its predecessor.

Whilst it is a sequel, it can definitely be read as a standalone but for anyone who has read Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, it's like seeing that novel in high definition as I saw some of that story from another angle.  This book concentrates on Kathleen's story from her tragic beginnings to her later success and friendship with Harriet, a character I remember fondly from the previous book.

The writing is sublime; L.B. Griffin doesn't just write with her heart, she writes with her heart and soul.  You can't help but be drawn into Kathleen and Harriet's stories as they ebb and flow and eventually intertwine.  The characters are so well developed that they leap out from the page and I feel like I know them and consider them friends.  So much so that I'm not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or two at the end.

With an exquisite storyline, I devoured every single page and I'm not mentioning any plot details at all as it is sure to spoil it for other readers and I really do urge you to discover L.B. Griffin's novels for yourself.  The Twenty One Year Contract is described as a sequel but it is so much more than that as it accompanies and enhances Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox.

The Twenty-One Year Contract is a genre busting novel that will appeal to so many readers; it's historical, family saga, women's fiction, mystery and contemporary.  It's poignant, hopeful, heartwarming and utterly breathtaking.  So very highly recommended.

Many thanks to L.B. Griffin for sending me an ARC to read and review; all opinions are my own.

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