Renee's Reviews > The Linen Queen

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey
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's review
Feb 11, 2011

liked it
Read from February 23 to March 20, 2011

On the edge of World War II, Sheila McGee longs to escape life as a mill girl in the small village in County Armagh, Ireland. With no money of her own and an unstable mother, she has little hope of escape. The annual Linen Queen competition may be her last and only chance to leave and when she unexpectedly wins the competition things begin to look up. That one glimmer of hope is dashed however by news of the Belfast Blitz that brings Allied troops to the area but makes travel nearly impossible. Little does she know that one Jewish soldier and one refugee from Belfast will change her life forever.

As a reader I've become a fan of coming of age stories like this one. I like to see characters who grow and mature from seemingly childish, selfish people into thinking, caring individuals. Most of the time I can relate to the characters and I like them even at their worst, unfortunately Sheila was not likable. Yes, she did evolve and grow but she was way too whiny at the start and seemed very immature for one who had to deal with so much in her life. I thought Grianne, the evacuee from Belfast was more realistic and was much wiser and more mature and suffered so much more that it made Sheila's gripes seem trivial.

Although I didn't care for Shelia I was still able to enjoy this book because of the amazing supporting characters. Joel and Gavin, let me tell you if they don't make you swoon and want to go out and find a soldier or a seaman of your own...whew! The soldier and the local boy stick by Sheila even when it could mean they both could get hurt or worse. Don't get me wrong they aren't prefect and they do let Sheila know that she isn't either but somehow as a reader I just knew that they were going to be forces for good in her life and they were. Characters like them and Mrs. Hollywood, who came in towards the end of the book, added so much life and color (pink to be specific) to the story that made it so enjoyable.

All in all I enjoyed The Linen Queen. I wish Sheila would have been more agreeable but not everyone can like every character, I guess. I really respect Patricia Falvey and her story-telling abilities. She definitely knows Ireland and I felt as if I were there. Anyone who can write a story like that is on my must read list and I will certainly be looking for more from her in the future.


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