Book Reviews: Once Upon a Wardrobe, Eight Perfect Hours and Within these Wicked Walls

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

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Goodreads blurb: “Where did Narnia come from?” The answer will change everything.

Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics. She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a copy of a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse. Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George. Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

My take: 4.5 out of 5 This book was absolutely adorable. Wonderful family drama about the power of fantasy and imagination. Also a lovely story on family love and dynamics. It will bring many a tear to your eyes but read it for sure. Now I need to go re-read Narnia or watch the movie (key fact: its in Disney+ now) because I want to get so much more out of it. I did this book in audiobook, but would recommend doing in e-book or physical book, as there were plenty of passages I wanted to highlight and I couldn’t as I was driving (also dangerous, the tears whilst driving). One line I loved: “Reason is how we get to the truth, but imagination is how we find meaning.” And for my book loving friends: “The way stories change us can’t be explained,’ Padraig says. ‘It can only be felt. Like love.”

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

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Goodreads blurb: On a snowy evening in March, 30-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone. All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again, but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence. With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate.

My take: 4.25 out of 5. This was comfort and happiness in book form. From the opening dedication I knew my fate and serendipity loving self was going to really enjoy this book:

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretched or tangle. But it will never break – ancient chinese proverb

I enjoyed every single one of the coincidences, because even the obvious ones makes way for some totally out of left field moments that made me very happy. Its a very quick and very satisfying read. Another quote I loved: The only way to live forever is to leave parts of yourself behind

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

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Goodreads blurb: Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

My take: 2.75 out of 5. I just didn’t really get into this one, although the end mildly redeems itself. For Jane Eyre adaptations there are much better ones! I think i did not connect ot the characters or the story and really as crazy as the world they present I think I needed a bit more background as to the society in which this story happens so that we got some concept. It was just not for me.

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