Book Review: The Remnants

51c2jlnk8ilGenre: Historical Fiction

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

The Remnants is like a fixer upper. It’s unpolished and a bit of a hot mess, but you can still see the potential. Unfortunately, The Remnants was published before it got the TLC it deserved.

Not only is the text plagued with typos and missing punctuation, but there are too many storylines and character to keep straight. It’s a hot mess that could have been amazing.

The story starts out on a seemingly inconsequential day, with two minor characters talking. Yes, minor. They’re barely in the story but they make up the opening scene that eventually introduces Rose as a young, innocent girl going on her first car ride. So far there’s promise. After all, the boggy description will clear up when the story gets going, right?

I wish.

But it does pick up when we meet lovable bad boy Danny. Straight from an orphanage and now working at a general store, he’s a troublemaker and has never known love of any sort. He’s convinced he’s unlovable. Perfect for a love interest. I do have a thing for the bad boys. Give them a vulnerable side and I’m practically putty.

Rose and Danny have an excellently sweet and innocent chance encounter that clashes with the darkness in the rest of the book. Actually, there’s no foreshadowing at all that things will go so horribly awry when they met, or how dark most of the book is.

But dark it is. Danny goes off to fight in India, leaving Rose behind, but promising to still see her. After realizing he will die unless he deserts the army, he runs away and Rose goes to live with him in Canada

Had this been split into two or three full-length novels with the first novel ending here, I would have liked it a lot. But instead this great beginning with Danny’s and Rose’s innocence isn’t given the full detail and development it deserves, instead being condensed to the beginning of the novel.

But unfortunately it gets worse. Because the story continues. With so many characters that it’s impossible to keep them straight.

Danny’s character takes a sharp left when he feels the need to go to war again, this time with the Canadian army. He and Rose had practically just found each other and now he’s going back to fight, and after he had almost died the last time? Yeah. That makes total sense. What is he, an addict all of a sudden?

The entire story goes in a whirlwind. Danny has such a steep character arc, from innocent teenaged boy to hardened veteran, it might as well be a character cliff. Rose, on the other hand, doesn’t have that much character to arc. She’s slightly more bitter by the end, but she had already been bitter in the beginning of the story. Her lack of character frustrates me to no end.

There are some good parts to this story, though. Rose’s experience in the workplace was well-written, as was the death of Grace, Danny’s girl on the side. His war buddy, Mitch, is an excellent character and funny as hell, even if he is a bit cliched. The dynamic between Danny and his comrades is actually very good and I wish I had seen more of that and less flowery description about the war atmosphere.

While this story is mildly entertaining, well-researched, and interesting, it’s not my favorite and I will definitely not be reading it again. What do you think? Does this book sound interesting to you?

Disclaimer: I was given a small amount of money in exchange for this honest review. 100% of my compensation for paid reviews goes toward the upkeep of this website.

 

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