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Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase Paperback – 14 Aug 2014

133 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (14 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444777459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444777451
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My debut novel is Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase, published in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton in 2014. It is also published in Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Czech. It will be published in the USA and Germany in 2015.

Product Description

Review

A first novel of great charm and assurance, beautifully told and utterly gripping. (The Times)

A breathtaking, beautifully crafted tale of loves that survive secrets. (Kirkus)

A heart-breaking tale of loss, missed chances and enduring love. (Good Housekeeping)

Totally absorbing . . . Beautifully done and heartbreaking too. (Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky)

[a] charming debut... as appealing on the inside as its enticing jacket. (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A heartbreaking debut novel about family secrets, soulmates and missed opportunities.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. Colbert VINE VOICE on 5 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Roberta is 34 years old, lives alone and loves working in the Old and New Bookshop, she finds things in books such as postcards, locks of hair, letters, receipts etc. and she keeps most of them, she finds it hard to dispose of these memories. She also loves old suitcases and is thrilled when her father gives her her grandmother's old suitcase. When she discovers in it an old letter dated February 1941 she is intrigued

This is a dual narrative story going back and forth from the present to the Second World War where we meet Roberta's grandmother Dorothy, living in a little cottage on a farm, husband away at war, she's a mystery to the other villagers due to her not socialising but she doesn't care. She had two land girls helping with the farm and she manages to eke out a living by sewing and taking in laundry.

But her life changes dramatically when she meets a Polish airman, they become close, and when another dramatic event happens on the farm she has to make life-changing decisions which affect everyone's lives.

I really enjoyed going back and forth in time with the two women, especially Dorothy who had such a sad life and desperately wanted a baby. She couldn't believe her luck when Jan walked into her life and gave her some happiness.

Roberta too was lonely, she was 'useless at wobbly moments' and thinks she's a 7 out of 10 on a very good day. Her boss, Philip, was good company, funny and witty and Roberta enjoys his company. His girlfriend also works at the shop and, according to Roberta, she's a 9 and a half out of 10......so no chance of a romance ...... or is there?
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Roberta works in a book shop which sells both second hand and new books. She loves going through the second hand books for the things people have left in as bookmarks - children's drawings, shopping lists, letters, train tickets etc. She likes to imagine the people they belonged to.

Her father takes her a suitcase which belonged to his mother - now aged over one hundred and in a nursing home. Tucked into one of the books in the suitcase is a letter which will overturn everything Roberta knows about her grandmother.

I enjoyed this book and thought it was well written. I liked the intermingling of the two stories - that of Dorothea trying to make a life for herself during World War II and Roberta in the twenty first century trying to make sense of her own life. The author really brought the characters to life and I thought the love affairs were painted with a delicate hand and not overdone.

If you enjoy books which weave together past and present then try this one - it is subtle and understated and a very satisfying read. I look forward to reading more by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suze @ Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams on 3 July 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Roberta receives a battered old suitcase with some of her grandmother's books from her father. Inside there's the name Mrs Sinclair, but who is she? In one of the books she finds a letter from Jan Pietrykowski to Dorothea. Dorothea is her grandmother and Pietrykowski is her surname. What happened to Jan and why has the person who's supposedly her grandfather written a hurtful letter like this to Roberta's grandmother? She tries to find out what happened during the war, when her father was born. Meanwhile Roberta also has her own problems with love.

Mrs Sinclair's suitcase is a wonderful story about two women who are both struggling with love. Dorothea is married to a man who can't cope with problems. She wants to have children so badly, but it doesn't happen as she keeps having miscarriages and eventually her husband leaves her because of that. When Dorothea meets Jan she instantly falls in love with him. Jan is in the air force and has to fight, it's the Second World War and beating the Germans is his priority. He's from Poland and he's obsessed with fighting the Germans who have occupied his country. The fact that he and Dorothea can only meet in his sparse free time and that they've both been hurt in love makes the bond between them really strong. Dorothea isn't an easy woman, she's reserved and has built quite many walls around her. Jan manages to break through them, but then Dorothea does something he can't easily forgive...

Roberta has a lover, but he's a married man and the relationship isn't going anywhere. She's never been truly in love. She's married to her job instead. She's working in a bookstore and her boss, Philip, is her best friend.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Roberta is a solitary, rather lonely young woman who works in a (surprisingly successful) independent bookshop. She has a habit of collecting ephemera - photographs, letters, tickets etc - which fall from second-hand books as she catalogues them (snippets of which are included at the beginning of many of the chapters - a nice touch) and this hobby becomes more personal when she is given a collection of books in a battered suitcase which belonged to her 109 year old grandmother Dorothea, who is currently living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia. As she sifts through them Roberta discovers a letter which casts doubt on her understanding of her grandparents' marriage.

There are two timeframes to this story and the second features Dorothea (or plain old Dorothy as she was originally known), who is struggling to make ends meet on a remote wartime farm after her husband Albert deserts her. After witnessing a fatal plane crash she falls in love with the dead pilot's senior officer, a Polish man called Jan, and so begins an intriguing story of thwarted love, dashed hopes, secrets and lies.

The writing in both timeframes is beautifully evocative with a melancholy undertone, particularly in the wartime thread; I really felt as though I was on that bleak Lincolnshire farm with Dorothea and her Land Girls. A thoroughly enjoyable read and a very impressive debut novel.
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