Updated: Jan 6, 2019
I loved this book. It was different to anything i've read in a while and I was really enjoyably suprised. 8/10
Upon the outbreak of world war two and the blitz, this story situates orphan and evacuee taken out of his London home with his eccentric, suffragette Godmother and placed in the care of the crooked Vee.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The plot line was simple and uncomplicated yet the was heart-warming and touching. I often approach novels around the war period with apprehension, wary of the (for me) rather dull, overdone plot lines. Crooked heart however takes the route following a eccentric and interesting character of Noel the big eared, limping evacuee and the scamming and equally intriguing Vee.
I really enjoyed the character progression of these two main characters. Quite easily say I didn’t like any of the other characters (bar Mattie), from Noel’s estranged relatives, Vee’s son and mother and everyone they met along their journey. This helped I think though to route for Vee and Noel’s relationship. I wanted them both to find each other and be happy which (spoiler alert) they eventually do. The book brings together two people who are somewhat odd and need each other without realising it. The story and their relationship was lovely to watch unfold and develop and was the real focal point of my enjoyment of the novel.
At first, I felt suspicious of Vee but after seeing her ungrateful and completely uninspiring mother and absolute waste of space of a son and baffling Austrian girlfriend, you find yourself routing for Vee to make something of herself.
The plot line was clever, making Vee and Noel’s crimes seem light-hearted and somehow justified? In the midst of the war, bombs, rations etc, there is an ironic humour and I also enjoyed the references to Mattie and the suffragette movement, it was a reminder that despite how old fashioned the book may seem in this day and age, how far forward women like Mattie brought us forward. There were many references throughout the book of aspects that aren’t instantaneously associated with the war but upon reflection clearly were obvious factors. People such as Vee and Donald would have no doubt exploited the tragedies of war and used the collection of money for charity and getting out of the line of duty. It was cleverly and subtly historic. I believe the author did a marvellous job at balancing the darker sub-plots with the heart-warming and funny main story line.
I think one of the best aspects of the authors writing is that these characters are spurned by ‘normal’ and ‘respectable’ society and yet it is Vee and Noel that we route for.
This book isn’t faced paced and won’t keep you up at night dying to turn the next page, but I would 100% recommend it, especially to someone who is interested in the social effects and backlashes of the war.