An Ipad displaying the front cover of The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale, leaning against a row of books on a bookshelf.

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

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  • Fiction
  • Ebook
  • 240 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.13
  • TW: rape, sexual abuse, abortion

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Comfort of Others is a story of tragedy, friendship and forgiveness. It follows Minnie and her sister Clara, two spinsters who live in an old manor called Rosemount, in the middle of a housing estate that was built after the war, when their father sold off most of his land. Directly opposite of Rosemount lives 11-year-old Max with his mother. Neither of them know who Max’s father is, so it’s always just been the two of them. Until his mother meets someone. Both Max and Minnie begin to tell their stories over the course of the summer and they find comfort with each other.

I was very sceptical when I started this book. To be completely honest, I started reading this book because I wanted to create a little breathing room in my Goodreads Challenge and this was the shortest Ebook that I had on my Ipad. I loved the title, but I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the blurb. Nevertheless, it turned out to be pretty good, almost exactly what I had expected.

I’ve never really liked books written from the POV of a child. Sure, this was pretty well-written and I really felt for Max throughout the book, but it just always kind of bothers me. It just either feels way too mature for a child to have written it, or it feels like it was written by a child, but then it is terrible to read. It’s just a really tough POV to do right. I feel like Langdale did alright with it though. Her writing as Max wasn’t too complicated, but also wasn’t annoyingly childish. Kudos to her for that. It’s still my least favourite POV, though.

The book alternates between Max’s point of view and Minnies point of view. Minnies story starts in the 1930s and works its way through 70 years, where Max’s story starts the day the book starts and tells the story of the events of the next few weeks. Minnies story gets sad very quickly, while Max’s story is still building up. I like how the events are spread out over the book, but I just couldn’t help waiting for something else to happen in Minnies story. Her story peaks very early on in the book and then kind of starts wrapping up very slowly, which was kind of a shame. Luckily we still had Max’s story.

Kay Langdale is not a writer I had ever heard of before. I was surprised to see she has actually written quite some books, none of which I had ever heard of before. Even though I only gave the book 3 stars, I do think Langdale deserves much more publicity than she’s getting right now. The book was very well-written, very emotional at times. It was just missing some elements which, in my opinion, made the story feel a little flat at times. But then again, I’ve never really been a fan of slow-paced books. Langdale definitely has a lot of potential, though.

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