Review: A Class Apart (A Matter of Class #1) by Susie Murphy

When I first started book blogging (almost 10 years ago!), I used to read a ton of indie and self published books but now that I have been blogging for so long, I tend to read a lot more books from publishing groups or established authors.

One of the things that I liked most about reading these self published or indie books was so that I could give constructive criticism. I hate when I read a book review and it just says something like ‘your book sucks’. Why not offer some suggestions to help guide them or praise where praise is due?

Most of the self published or indie books that I read were a little on the bland side but ever once in a while I found one that was a diamond in the rough. As I said, now a days I don’t read a ton of self published or indie books, but I do get pitches for them on a regular basis. As I have said before, I read every single pitch that comes across my desk and if it catches my eye, indie or not, of if it’s something I think my readers will be interested in, then I pick it up. 

This book caught my eye for one reason—the description. It sounded a little like Wuthering Heights to me. Childhood friends/sweethearts grow up and grow apart but yet have a strong bond that appears unbreakable. Wild girl. Quiet mysterious boy. I couldn’t pass on this one.

It’s 1828, and Ireland is in turmoil as Irish tenants protest against their upper-class English landlords.

Nineteen-year-old Bridget Muldowney is thrilled to return to the estate in Carlow she’ll inherit when she comes of age. But since she left for Dublin seven years earlier, the tomboy has become a refined young lady, engaged to be married to a dashing English gentleman.

Cormac McGovern, now a stable hand on the estate, has missed his childhood friend. He and Bridget had once been thick as thieves, running wild around the countryside together.

When Bridget and Cormac meet again their friendship begins to rekindle, but it’s different now that they are adults. Bridget’s overbearing mother, determined to enforce the employer-servant boundaries, conspires with Bridget’s fiancé to keep the pair apart.

With the odds stacked against them, can Bridget and Cormac’s childhood attachment blossom into something more? (summary from Goodreads).

So let’s talk about the good first. I loved Bridget’s character. She was wild and clearly felt confined by her class. Though not set in England, I can so clearly see Bridget running wild on the moors on her horse trying desperately to escape her mother’s expectations. She was perfect in this role and I thought she was a smart, put together character.

Cormac was equally as well developed. He was polite and yet had this tragic brooding about him based on what happened to his family. I loved that there was this sad part to him. It didn’t diminish or weaken his character in the slightest.

The chemistry and romance between the two was well written and believable. I enjoyed reading their story quite a bit.

The writing was fast paced and the breaks in the chapters were appropriate and kept things moving on quite fast. My issue was with some of the descriptions. I felt that there were a few too many words and/or descriptions littered throughout the book. It felt a little over the top at times and bogged down some of the story. I found that it was particularly evident in the first few chapters. By about mid way through the book though, either I got used to the writing style or the author eliminated some of the overly descriptive words.

I love a description in books, but there is a fine line between the right amount and being overly zealous. I for one am guilty of the later when it comes to every day writing—-put me in front of a book and it’s a word free for all—-but sometimes less is more. So that would be my bit of feedback for the author. She’s done a great job at creating excellent characters and an interesting plot, so let that shine through by eliminating some of the clutter.

Also, whoever did the cover, designed a good one! I love the simplicity of it and the white dress makes it stand out!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: A Class Apart (A Matter of Class #1) by Susie Murphy 

  • Kindle Edition, 338 pages
    Published July 10th 2018
    ASIN B07DVJ2S4N
  • Review copy provided by: publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5

Genre: Historic fiction, Irish lit

Memorable lines/quotes: 

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