Skip to main content

Larchfield by Polly Clark Review

Hi ForeverBookers, I've just finished Larchfield. It was a good story of hope, loss, finding oneself and redemption. I believe this is a standalone also. 

I got Larchfield through NetGalley so thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read it! It releases on March 23rd 2017! 

NOTE: there are adult situations in Larchfield! 

3 Stars! 

Larchfield tells the story of two characters. One, Wystan is a relative of WH Auden. He's also a writer. He's going to Scotland to work at Larchfield, a boys school. We see him struggle with who he's meant to be throughout the novel. The other character is called Dora, also a writer. She's a married, pregnant woman at the beginning of Larchfield. Her and her husband have just moved house, to a place on the sea. However, not all is right with Dora who experiences set backs throughout Larchfield. 

Spoilers below...
Wystan is gay. We see this quite early on in the novel. Working at a boys school puts temptation in his way, quite often. However, he never acts on it with any of the students. He does have a few affairs. A couple in Germany, when he visits with friends, as well as Gregory in Scotland, with whom he thinks is his true love. The parents of Gregory, don't agree, however. It was good to see diversity in Larchfield. 

Dora has a hard time getting on with people. Mainly because of her neighbours, who don't like her. I felt sorry for Dora, because she was just a mother, trying to do the best thing for her daughter. I didn't like the bullying neighbours. They went so far as to try and poison Dora's dog, to prove her unstable and just, no. I don't like reading about animal cruelty. It's really not a big part of the story, just a few pages really but still I didn't like reading it. Towards the end of Larchfield, we see Dora's mental health brought into question. I'm not going to say why but I thought the author did well covering the topic of mental health in a non condescending way. 

Larchfield is told from 3rd person narrative. However, the chapters are titled either Wystan, Dora or Wystan and Dora. This made it easy to follow. Wystan's chapters are present tense and Dora's chapters are past tense. The characters sometimes overlapped, so Dora would be in Wystan's chapters and vice versa but only in thoughts. They only appear together in the chapters with both of their names, and there aren't many of those. I certainly enjoyed Dora's chapters more than Wystan's. I think this is because I'm female so I can see Dora's struggles more clearly than Wystan's.  

What I liked about Larchfield...having two characters primarily focused on. I think anyone could find something to relate to in this story. I thought that mental health was dealt with well in the last part of the book. Dora didn't appear to have to do anything she didn't really want to. There was only the incidence of leaving her daughter with her husband that could be classed as this. Nothing more. 

What I didn't like about the two main characters don't end up together. As Wystan is gay, he obviously doesn't end up with Dora. I went into Larchfield thinking that this would probably happen so I'm a little annoyed that it didn't. Although, I did still like the story. 
I was also unsure of the time that Larchfield was supposed to be set. At the beginning, the book mentions 1930's. But then later it mentions both Barack Obama as well as Scooby Doo. My rating went down one star just for this. As it's necessary to know the time a story is set in. 

I'm giving Larchfield 3 stars because while it was a good book, I won't ever want to reread it. I knew the story wouldn't grab me the same way a fantasy, for example would but I wanted a little more from the plot because while the characters weren't boring, the plot was a little repetitive. While I really would have liked to have seen Wystan and Dora get together, it was nice to just see friends in a book, too. While I preferred Dora's story over Wystan's, I still see that Wystan was just as necessary to the story as Dora, maybe more so. I could just see myself in Dora more so. 

Look forward to my next review, coming soon! 


Popular posts from this blog

Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman Review

Tales Of The Shadowhunter Academy Review...
Tales Of The Shadowhunter Academy chronicles Simon Lewis’ time as a ShadowHunter in training. 
4.5 Stars as a collection (5 on Goodreads)!
I’m using TFTSA as my book by two authors, as it’s by multiple authors. If anyone wants me to name just one story by two authors in the collection, then I choose Born To An Endless Night. I explain why in my review, below...
Spoilers Below...
Welcome To ShadowHunter Academy
I loved this short story! 
5 Stars!
We get introduced to our main characters from the previous TMI books. Simon, our main character is entertaining as he tries to remember who he is or was before he lost his memories in City Of Heavenly Fire. We get a cameo from Isabelle who offers her heart to Simon. He however says that he isn’t interested in a relationship until he can remember who he was.
The new characters we’re introduced to are either students or teachers at Shadowhunter Academy. One student in particular, George, becomes Simon’s…

Starlight Nights (732 Days #2) by Stacey Kade Review

Hey ForeverBookers,
“Starlight Nights”, the first book that I read this year was fantastic! It was like a soap opera with how many storylines it had. There was a love story, a selfish parent story, a drugs story, a friendship story, along with more. The book is long enough to fit all those different stories too as it’s 400 pages.

"Starlight Nights" is the second book in a series of linked contemporary standalone novels. I say linked because there’s a character featured as a side character who’s a main character in the first book 738 Days by Stacey Kade, too. I read this as a standalone, though and it was fine. 

I read “Starlight Nights" for the “A book that’s published in 2018” goal on the Popsugar Reading Challenge. 
Netgalley were kind enough to grant me a review copy of “Starlight Nights” so it’s thanks to them as well as the publisher that I’ve been able to read and review this...
Calista and Eric are the main characters. “Starlight Nights” is told from both of their per…

This Side Of Murder (Verity Kent #1) by Anna Lee Huber Review...

Hi ForeverBookers, 

I've just finished This Side Of Murder by Anna Lee Hubert and it was great! This isn't my normal type of read but I still enjoyed it. 

NetGalley allowed me access to This Side Of Murder so thanks to them for letting me read and review it.

This Side Of Murder tells the story of widower, Verity. She's going to a house party on an island near England. This story is really about Verity trying to figure out a code as she was a secret code breaker in the war. Verity lost her husband in the War, or so she thinks...
4 Stars
The book is set just after World War 1 so there are some customs that are different to now, smoking being seen as a good or relaxing thing, for example. 
Verity meets another attendee of the party, Max on the way there. They strike up a friendship. The other attendees are rather hostile to Verity. The other women treat her terribly and the other men just seem to ignore her. 
This is a mystery novel where we're trying to work out lots of things.…