Changes have to happen throughout the years, as we grow we must change, sometimes drastically. For many though, the most drastic transition is that from a carefree youngster to whatever we, or our environment, decides we will be. This particular transition is a story that has been told or written about many times and in many different ways.
Florence Grace is one such tale. Florence ‘Florrie’ Buckley is that carefree and spirited youngster, growing up in the harsh but beautiful Cornish moors during the mid 1800s, content, yet longing for something more. All at once, her world is turned upside down when a never-imagined secret becomes hers, and she is plucked from the home she loves and thrust into a life starkly different. Florence Grace is as much a story of survival as it is a coming of age tale. Trials and tribulations are frequent, secrets kept and then revealed, causing strife in Florrie’s new world. It did portray the realness of life; as much as it seemed from the outside that Florence Grace had the best chances in the world and that life was being kind to her, it didn’t always bring about favourable circumstances.
Florrie encounters many crossroads during the story, forcing her to make decisions about who she will become and what she really wants. These twists and turns meant that the novel was interesting and unique, drawing you in and I found that at times I struggled to put the book down. These aspects of the novel and also the captivating detail throughout, particularly about Cornwall, gave depth to the story and for me, made it feel as though I was living it too.
That being said, I did find the novel somewhat predictable. The writing style did impress me but it was easy to see the outcomes, perhaps because of it being a frequently-told story-line of growing up. I enjoyed Florence Grace, I just wish the plot surprised me a bit more. There were also a few additions or details that, in my opinion, distracted from the story. Things that didn’t get majorly expanded on, didn’t add anything valuable to the story, and that seemed to detract from the ‘realness’ of the novel.
However Tracy Rees did manage to get across what I believe she wanted to portray: a beautiful story of lows and highs, struggles and victories, losses and loves of a young girl finding her way in the world, as well as finding herself.
Reviewed by Sarah Hayward
by Tracy Rees
Published by Quercus Publishing