Thank you to Harlequin US & Canada and NetGalley for providing a copy for review.
I was really looking forward to Iris Martin Cohen’s debut novel The Little Clan. What better story is there than with a book-loving main character and a New York City setting? Nothing, I assumed, but I started to realize very early on that this book was not what I am looking for in a book.
Ava Gallanter is the librarian in residence at the Lazarus Club, an ancient, dwindling Manhattan arts club full of eccentric geriatric residents stuck in a long-gone era. Twenty-five-year-old Ava, however, feels right at home. She leads a quiet life, surrounded by her beloved books and sequestered away from her peers.
When Ava’s enigmatic friend Stephanie returns after an unplanned year abroad, the intoxicating opportunist vows to rescue Ava from a life of obscurity. Stephanie, on the hunt for fame and fortune, promises to make Ava’s dream of becoming a writer come true, and together they start a Victorian-inspired literary salon at the Lazarus Club. However, Ava’s romanticized idea of the salon quickly erodes as Stephanie’s ambitions take the women in an unexpected—and precarious—direction.
I really enjoyed the initial storyline of this novel. As a book lover myself I love to read about fictionalized book enthusiasts in literature. I also think that opening a literary club for book lovers with a bar or a coffee house is the dream of many bookworms around the globe. Ava and Stephanie tried to make this dream come true. The only thing I couldn’t really get behind was the type of club they wanted to open. Ava loves 19th century classics and the only books she wanted to display were those 19th century classics. I don’t think there’s something wrong with those kind of novels but opening a literary club in 21st century New York with dusty and old books only is far from reality if you ask me. It’s a great idea but it wouldn’t be somewhere I would want to go to. If it were a literary book club with modern and classic literature, I would be game.
Ava, the main protagonist, is literally all of us bookworms: She absolutely loves books, she has read her favorite stories over and over again, she is currently in the process of writing her first own novel, and on top of that she works in a library. #DreamGoals As I already mentioned her favorite books are the ones from the 19th century, like Little Women and Sherlock Holmes – and only those books. She doesn’t read any Contemporary novels, nor Fantasy or Young Adult novels. But she not only reads those old classics, at 25 years, Ava basically lives the life of the people in her favorite books: She dresses like them, she thinks like them, she even uses an actual candle as a night lamp. I don’t want to judge her for who she is but she lives so far from reality, I don’t think it’s normal anymore, which is why I couldn’t take her character seriously or even connect with her.
Ava’s best friend, Stephanie, was another thorn in my side. She constantly belittled and patronized Ava, she always dismissed her friend’s ideas and let Ava do the labor while Stephanie was off flirting with old men to get money for their literary club project. Stephanie was without a doubt a crappy friend and one Ava didn’t deserve at all.
The Little Clan was also a little too wordy for my taste. I had to look up at least three words per page because I’ve never heard of those before and it totally took away some valueable reading time.
Although I liked the initial storyline, it didn’t really hold my attention. The descriptions and the characters’ doings really bored me which is why I skimmed through the last 70% of the book. I’m glad I did because because from what I gathered through skimming, I didn’t miss much.
I feel really bad for giving this book a 1.5 Star rating, but the book was just not what I had hoped for. Nevertheless, if you like wordy books and classic literature book references, then The Little Clan will be the perfect book for you. It releases on April 17th!