Number of pages: 325
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 1.5
Release Date: October 19th 2017
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.
I requested this one on a whim thinking I wouldn’t get accepted. I was genuinely interested in the premise, but I thought the setting of the 1920s wouldn’t work for me. In the end, I think everything but the setting ended up not working for me.
Let’s start with possibly the most controversial of my gripes: Masie. I have a lot of issues with her characterization, but one in particular stands out; she comes across as far too modern. The thing that put me off from the beginning was the long paragraph near the start of her first chapter where she railed against her oppression as a woman. I’m not condoning the oppression of women in any way (I quite like my rights as a Canadian female), but I see this sort of thing far too often in historical fiction books. It feels like the authors making sure readers know their opinions on the oppression of women. But here’s the thing; I’m not reading historical fiction to learn about the authors feelings on how women were treated in the past. I’m reading historical fiction to see what life was like in *insert time period here* in *insert country here*. If I wanted to know how the author feels about life as a woman in 1920s New York, I would follow her on Twitter. Yes, there would have been women in the 1920s who genuinely railed against the oppression they faced (and power to them), but people in the past did not rail against their oppression as often as is represented in YA historical fiction, and that is where the issue lies.
Then there’s Benny. In terms of historical accuracy, he appeared to be well done. My issue with him is rather that he is not a very realistic character. It feels like the author made a list of all the characteristics she would want in a partner, and Benny was made. I don’t think I can pinpoint a bad quality Benny has, and that’s an issue.
The romance between Masie and Benny is one of the most glaring cases of insta-love I have read in a long time. They basically look at each other for the first time and are infatuated.
The other problem I had with the romance is that it messes with Benny’s characterization. Benny is set up as someone who cares a lot about his family, but as soon as things heat up with Masie, he doesn’t really mention his family agian until he’s saying goodbye at the end.
The secondary characters also aren’t done very well. It is clear from the way everything is set up that if you don’t like Masie and Benny, you’re not going to find another character to connect with. The rest of the characters are completely forgettable, including Masie’s father, the reason there is any semblance of a plot.
Speaking of the plot, nothing ever really happens. The whole book is centered around the romance, but since they are infatuated at first glance, there’s not a whole lot to it. There’s no watching them fall in love with each other, as their every thought is already focused on the other.
Overall, The Canary Club features nothing to recommend it, earning it 1.5 stars out of 5.