I didn’t realize it had been almost three years since the last Cormoran Strike book, Career of Evil. I actually ended up reading recaps of the books on Wikipedia because I knew it wouldn’t be easy to jump right back in and Rowling thankfully started right where the last book stopped, but then jumped forward a year.
I picked this up on our July trip to the UK. Multiple places along Hadrian’s Wall sold it as a souvenir and I thought why not?I wanted something that wasn’t a usual souvenir and the cover of the omnibus version I have (Goodreads link) kept catching my eye, and so I bought it, along with way too many other books that visit.
I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect with a historical fiction young adult series originally published in the 1950s. How different from today’s young adult literature would it be? The closest in publication that I’ve read were L’Engle’s Time Quintet and O’Keefe Family books comprising the Kairos series.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant at first as Bowles’ work was very well written but I just didn’t like the characters. Thankfully, Welch’s characters were a bit more accessible for me. This is two shorter stories so I’ve separated my response into two parts. The publisher provided a copy of this book and I received no compensation for my honest opinion.
The one over-arching them the two pieces have in common is the idea of sexuality, specifically homosexuality, before it was commonly talked about and/or accepted. I tried (aka did a brief google search) to find out about Welch’s sexuality, but again this was a long time ago before our out and proud mantras of today. Welch died young, he was only 33, and there is only speculation outside of his written works which in today’s society seem pretty explicit. Regardless, I enjoyed both of these snippets of the past for completely different reasons.