Book Review: A Simple Wish

Ruby’s only wish is to find her family…

Rosie Goodwin ~ A Simple Wish

Synopsis

Life is hard for Ruby Carter. Working at her parents’ bakery, her gentle mother protects young Ruby from her cruel father and loves her unconditionally. That is until her mother is stricken with a fatal illness and, from her deathbed, reveals that Ruby was adopted.

Overcome by grief and alone with a violent man she once called her father, Ruby has no choice but to flee. At just fifteen, homeless and alone, she is relieved when a kindly stranger named Mrs Bamber takes pity on her and welcomes poor Ruby into her home.

But soon, Ruby learns Mrs Bamber is not as generous as she first seemed – she forces Ruby into a life of crime as a jewel thief in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. With nothing to her name, Ruby has no choice but to steal. But Ruby is determined that she will atone for what she’s done and be reunited with her birth parents.

Review

This was such a beautiful, well-crafted book.

Ruby captures your heart immediately: she’s young, naïve and alone. Her vulnerability and trust makes her an easy target and she is swept up in a way similar to Oliver Twist when he first arrives in London.

Yet Ruby is pure of heart and this young heroine is determined to prove herself and work hard to ensure she gets what she deserves.

At first you think you know where the story is going, but there are so many twists and turns that Goodwin manages to keep you guessing. There are a few coincidences, but nothing too far-fetched to detract from the story as a whole.

And the characters. There is such a variety of personality, heroism and genuineness that it’s impossible not to be swept up in the story. The Pembrokes themselves came from nothing and worked their way up, making it more believable when they took her in and supported her.

Miranda was a great character; both pitiable and conniving, the conclusion to her story was a surprising, but suitable end.

The way Goodwin writes is fantastic, with no excessive fluff. There is plenty of historical fact, and a good insight into the Victorian jewellery business. Language used is contemporary, but not overtly modern, making the story accessible to all.

A charming piece of historical fiction that is a joy to read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received a copy of the book from Bonnier Books. All opinions my own.

For creative book and theatre reviews, please visit @paradise_library on Instagram.

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