The May Queen

‘She lapped in spirals beneath the sheen, feeling the tug of water rush against all of her. When she next surfaced, she couldn’t remember what it was to be on land. Seeing her clothing on the bank as things belonging to another…’ It all began beside the mill pond. Honest, fair and eager to please, fifteen-year-old May has a secret, and not of her own making. She wears it like an invisible badge, sewn to her skin, as though Ma stitched it there herself. It rubs only when she thinks of Sophie, Pa or the other name that’s hidden there; that no one knows about. Caught in an inevitable net of change, May joins the Wrens, leaving her Cotswolds home for war-torn London and the Blitz. As a dispatch rider, she navigates the city by day and night, surviving love and loss throughout a blackout of remembered streets and wrong turns. Night after night, the bombs drop and, like those around her, she takes cover in the shadows when they do. But May is waiting for a greater shadow to lift, one which will see the past explode into the present. A tale of one girl’s search for love and belonging, The May Queen is a debut novel that goes to the heart of what family means and finding your place in it.

When you sit down with this book you must know it’s going to be a slow journey rather than a quick payoff. So have a good cup of tea and be ready for the long haul. If you can do that then you’ll enjoy it, if not and are looking for that “oh cool” moment right away you’ll give up.

There seemed to be lots of things implied throughout this book to the point it felt like the literary version of an abstract painting; multiple people would all come to their own conclusions by examining the same piece of work. I had to reread paragraphs and whole chapters at times to see what I had missed or to gain a better understanding of the author’s intent.

From that aspect this is a good work because it requires you to think and doesn’t just hand feed you everything which so much of our society today has become accustomed to getting in their forms of media.

Although the character development is well written and descriptive I still didn’t feel invested in the characters. They could have been killed off in the next chapter or even in the next sentence and I would have kept reading on just the same as if the author stated what the character wore to a dance.

Overall this book very much read like those long literary works of fiction I had to read in my college English class. They’re great during winter when you need something to pass the time in front of the fire with a good drink. However in this fast paced society of Netflix and social media where people have been raised on getting entertained quickly and in big ways I don’t see this garnering much support.

You will like it or hate it depending upon if you’re a fireplace person or a Netflix person.

Buy on Amazon:

*synopsis and pic from

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book.

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