Title: The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury
Author: Marc Levy
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 282
Summary: From Goodreads: “Alice Pendelbury believes everything in her life is pretty much in order—from her good friends to her burgeoning career. But even Alice has to admit it’s been an odd week. Not only has her belligerent neighbour, Mr. Daldry, suddenly become a surprisingly agreeable confidant, but he’s encouraging her to take seriously the fortune-teller who told her that only by travelling to Turkey can Alice meet the most important person in her life.
What’s more, the peculiarly insistent Mr. Daldry has even agreed to finance Alice’s trip—one that against all reason seems to be predestined. It’s on this journey, crazy from the outset and strangely irresistible, that Alice will find out that nothing in her life is real, that her past is not true, and that the six people she’s about to encounter will shape her future in ways she could never have dreamed.”
Review: I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury takes place in the 1950s, and it follows a young woman named Alice, who works as a perfume maker, and Mr. Daldry, her grumpy neighbour across the hall. A few days before Christmas, Alice finds herself in a fortune teller’s tent, and even though she’s a skeptic, she’s haunted by what the fortune teller tells her. Seemingly out of nowhere, Mr. Daldry and Alice become close friends, and they travel to Istanbul together to see if there’s any truth to the fortune teller’s words.
My favourite thing about this book is that the author incorporated scent into almost every page. I enjoyed reading about the scents and smells of Istanbul, and it helped me imagine being there with the characters. I also liked that Mr. Daldry was an artist who painted cross-walks because I enjoyed reading about all the life he saw while watching people cross the street. I found that these descriptions added a unique element to the story that makes helps make it a memorable read.
Another thing that I liked about this book is that it takes place in a time and location that I haven’t read much about. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that takes place in Turkey, and I haven’t read many books that take place in the 1950s. I enjoyed seeing Istanbul through Alice’s eyes, and the descriptions made me feel like I had been there before. I also liked that this book mentions the Armenian Genocide, which is an unfortunate period of history that often gets overlooked.
Another reason why I liked this book is that I liked Alice. I admired her determination to find out more about her past and her drive to keep learning and perfecting her perfume making. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of Mr. Daldry, but I was amused enough by his stories that I was able to keep reading and enjoying the book.
My biggest complaint about this book is that it was fairly predictable. However, even though I was able to guess what was going to happen, I still enjoyed watching it all unfold. I liked following Alice, and she followed the steps to find out the truth about her path, and I enjoyed the characters that she met along the way.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to people who like historical fiction that is centred around a strong, female lead. I also recommend it to people who want to read a book that takes place in Turkey, because the descriptions will make you feel like you’ve been there before.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars!