ARC REVIEW: Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters – by Emily Carpenter

Title: Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters
Author: Emily Carpenter
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: October 20th 2020
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: October 12th 2020
Pages: 332

“Sometimes you’ve got to tear something down before you can build it back up again.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve enjoyed Emily Carpenter‘s books in the past, although I confess that I haven’t read Burying The Honeysuckle Girls yet myself. I didn’t realize this newest story was set in the same era, but fortunately Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters works perfectly well without reading that story first. I was intrigued as soon as I read the blurb; both the historical setting and Dove’s character sounded absolutely fascinating. And while somehow I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought I would, I can’t deny that the premise alone will make the heart of any historical fiction fan beat faster.

Like I said, I really liked the premise and idea behind this story. Especially the historical part set in the 1930s; you can clearly see that the author researched the era thoroughly and the descriptions make it feel as if you stepped into a time machine. I also liked the symbolisms and the significance of and reference to the hawthorn tree throughout the story. It’s always a nice touch when the title can be connected to the story in multiple ways! I do have to say that I found parts of the story to be quite slow and even repetitive. This haltered pace made it harder to properly enjoy the story, and the repetitions did the same… Especially the whole mention of the coin over and over again became really annoying.

The story uses a dual POV structure as well as a dual timeline. We have the part set in the 1930s with Dove, and the part set in the present with Dove’s granddaughter Eve… Dual timelines can be tricky for me, as I tend to prefer one over the other, and that is exactly what happened here. I found Dove’s POV to be considerably stronger and way more intriguing than the present timeline. Not only is her character and development that much more fascinating, it is the historical setting that steals the show and Dove just seems to be so much more important as a character in the first place. Eve came over as a bit bland in comparison, and I found the present POV in general to be quite slow and repetitive with the coin hunt and constant repetitions of how she feels about her grandmother and her having to care for her family. She definitely lacked that spark her grandmother seemed to have…

I wasn’t a fan of the whole religious angle, but I know that is a personal pet peeve of mine and I probably should have investigated more before reading this story. Luckily Dove’s chapters weren’t just focused on the religion, and boy has she an absolutely fascinating history! I definitely applaude her resourcefulness and ability to survive. It was interesting to slowly uncover her secrets through Eve’s POV in the present, although I did see quite a few of the plot twists coming. The ending was also a bit too convenient for me… All in all sadly Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters wasn’t my favorite title of hers, but that might just have been me. Most people do seem to enjoy this story better, so if you enjoy historical fiction and don’t mind a slower pace and repetitions in parts this might just be a great read for you.


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