Tread Softly, Alice by Jessica Blair

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Tread Softly, Alice by Jessica Blair

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Alice Ware returns home from France, eager to see where her future will take her. Two brothers are soon vying for her affection, but which one will she choose?
Buy? no Borrow? no
Pages: 352 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: [www.jessicablair.com Author's website]
ISBN: 9780349407326

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Alice Ware is finally returning home to Yorkshire, after an extended stay with friends in France. Much has changed since she left, but the most exciting development has been the arrival of an elegant new neighbour, Emma Cheevey, who has inherited the estate next to their home. Alice is particularly thrilled by the arrival of Emma's handsome soldier sons: the serious but self confident Steven and his gentle, easygoing younger brother Matthew. Both men are keen to win her heart, but which one holds the key to her future?

The book is set at the turn of the century and is mainly set in the idyllic Yorkshire countryside. Blair has a knack for setting the scene perfectly and has certainly chosen some beautiful locations for the backdrop to her story. The book is well-researched, with plenty of interesting period details which add authenticity to the narrative.

Thankfully, the cast of characters is quite small, so readers won't struggle to remember who's who. The main story revolves around teenage Alice and the difficult decision of choosing between two very different, but equally charming suitors.

Despite being the main protagonist, we don't see very much of Alice in the first half of the book, as the focus seems to be mainly directed toward her new neighbour, Emma. Alice is not a particularly likeable character and seems shallow and immature, flirting with both brothers in turn. The romance in the book is not convincing and doesn’t manage to draw the reader in, emotionally. It becomes hard to enjoy a book when you don't feel a connection to the characters and this was a big issue for me personally.

The characters were not the only problem. The book suffered from poor editing and I spotted several spelling and grammar mistakes in the text. The sentence structure seemed odd at times, especially during conversation, and was bad enough to affect the flow of my reading. The pace of the narrative felt slow and laborious, as if it were being dragged out, unnecessarily. It felt like a short story, stretched to fit a long book.

I was really disappointed with Tread Softly, Alice, as it had a promising premise that didn't manage to develop into anything special. I have enjoyed Blair's previous work, so I felt that this particular book wasn't up to her usual high standard.

Bookbag enjoyed Just One More Day by Jessica Blair, which is a well-researched, gentle love story about a young WAAF girl who makes a vow never to fall for a soldier.

Buy Tread Softly, Alice by Jessica Blair at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tread Softly, Alice by Jessica Blair at Amazon.co.uk.


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