23 January 2011

Mr. Chartwell; Rebecca Hunt

Mr. ChartwellMr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Historical fiction with a twist: the weekend before Winston Churchill retires, a librarian at the Westminster Library gets a new tenant, a huge (ok, beyond huge) black dog. "Mr. Chartwell" is the embodiment of the depression that Churchill suffered most of his life - Esther is starting down that path, and because their lives are linked, "Black Pat" (his other name) decides to move in.

This isn't historical fiction where you get a real look at the lives of the people during that time, it's a glimpse of an historical moment. Esther's life was shattered two years earlier when her husband committed suicide, and on the anniversary of his death she starts to sink into depression. Hence Mr. Chartwell's visit. Churchill is retiring, an event that would lead anyone to depression. Hence Black Pat's reappearance in his life.

The question of how depression affects people, what it looks like and feels like, how a Mr. Chartwell can destroy a house or a life is an interesting one. That's what makes this book such a different type of historical fiction, as it's less about the event and more about the emotions.

ARC provided by publisher.

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