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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Little Women a Retelling by Laura Wood

Review - Little Women a Retelling by Laura Wood

Little Women, the charming story of the brave and resilient March sisters, has been adored by generations of readers who have identified with the struggles of kind and pretty Meg; gentle, delicate Beth; precocious, artistic Amy; and of course wild, tomboyish Jo, determined to forge her own path and become a writer.

Another really lovely retelling of a classic novel by Laura Wood, one of my absolute favourite writers!

I recently reviewed Laura's retelling of Pride and Prejudice, (you can read that one here) a story I only really knew through half-watched television adaptations. Well, I knew even less about Little Women going into this one. In fact the only thing about it I really thought I knew wasn't even in this book! But more on that in a bit.

As I said, I went into this cold, so I really can't comment on how the style matches the original. But I did really enjoy it! The publisher, Barrington Stoke, specialises in publishing books specially adapted for people with dyslexia or other reading difficulties and reluctant readers. This permeates through the whole design, from the language to the length of the story to the paper its printed on. I think what they do is incredible and they're incredibly good at it! With such a strong pool of authors too, the stories are never dumbed down either, and personally I find they're perfect for those days where I just want something short and easy to read, whether because I'm busy, tired or coming down from an epic novel high. 

These classic retellings are a relatively new part of their offering and, like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women is presented here in a compact and incredibly readable format. Yes, I'm sure there's been material removed to keep the length down, but these are probably best thought of as the equivalent to a film adaptation, presenting the same story in a new, slimmed down format.

The characters all come across really strongly, particularly the four "little women", the March sisters. I loved how each one has their individual styles and flaws, and their squabbles and fallings out. They really came alive as fascinating characters. Then seeing how they develop, change and grow over the course of the book was really lovely. This is a real coming of age story, and it's great seeing how they grow into womanhood and come together as a really strong family against all adversity. The love and affection on show in this book is really quite beautiful. Obviously it isn't all plain sailing though, and some of my favourite bits were when they fell out with each other. It can be so hard to forgive someone who hurts you even, no, especially when you really love them, and this story really brings that across powerfully. 

And yes, I was waiting for a particularly character to die, and they didn't. I did wonder if it had been rewritten for a happier ending, but the truth is rather more complex. Louisa Alcott wrote a sequel, Little Wives, which is often packaged up with Little Women into a single book or film. This retelling focuses only on the first part. I'm hoping Barrington Stoke might get Laura to retell the next one as well though!

A beautiful, charming, often emotional and always accessible retelling of a classic coming-of-age novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Little Women.


Little Women - A Retelling by Laura Wood is published on 6 April 2023 by Barrington Stoke.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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