Learned by Heart, a review by Shelley

posted in: Shelley | 0

Emma Donoghue

HarperCollins Canada | HarperAvenue
Publication Date: August 29th, 2023
336 Pages
Goodreads | Amazon

I liked this book well enough but had some issues. This was a slow burn of a story, and not in a good way. The constant dialogue of teenage girls felt rudimentary and repetitive at times. The downfall lies in the telling, it felt more like a history lesson or essay.

Let’s end with some things that I did like. The book and its subjects were well researched and based on Ann Lister’s own journal. The relationship is told in a very loving and sensitive manner, which I enjoyed most about the book. Once Eliza is older and has left the school the story got bogged down and a tad boring to me. I just wasn’t interested any longer. There is definitely excellent character development and the writing itself is beautiful, which is typical of Emma Donoghue. There are topical and timely issues even though it takes place in the 19th century. Homophobia, first love, race and class and I appreciated that but it wasn’t enough the elevate this to three stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.

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