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Flatlands, by Sue Hubbard

28/60 | Started 05.28.23 • Finished 06.04.23 | 2.5 stars

This is my first ARC - Advanced Reader's Copy - and I have to say I wasn't thrilled. I found this to just be okay. The setting was gorgeous and haunting, the characters were decently complicated, but I felt like the story dragged on for quite a while and then ended suddenly on a rather hopeless note.

Silence, he was beginning to understand, was a form of letting go. An abandonment of the chase, which allowed us to see the world more clearly.

The story follows two main characters, Philip and Freda, during the beginning of World War II. Philip is probably mid to late twenties, and following a nervous breakdown related to his leaving his life's goals behind, finds himself holed up in an abandoned lighthouse. There, he falls in love with the landscape and finds himself again through art and rescuing birds. Freda, meanwhile, is a London evacuee of about 12, taken in by an abusive family in the English Fens. She survives tragedy, great violence, and parental abandonment. The two become unlikely friends, but just when you think things will take a turn for the better, in comes the end of the book.

I feel bad because this got multiple 5 star ratings on Goodreads from other ARCers but I just did not feel as drawn in as others did and the ending really ruined it for me.

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