Book Review: Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Almost EnglishWhat’s it about?

Home is a foreign country: they do things differently there . . .

In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider.

At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn’t know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she’d expect back in her life. She isn’t noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.

My thoughts

This will be fairly short as I’ve not really got anything nice to say. My mother would say I shouldn’t be saying anything at all in that case, but I am a firm believer of being fair and my blog can’t just be filled with 4 or 5* books.

I didn’t like that the 2 main female characters were weak-willed and people-pleasers. I totally appreciated their situations but even so, both could have broken free and had a choice!

The mother / daughter relationship depicted between Laura and Marina, where neither feels like they can talk to each other, I guess is not uncommon, but it left me frustrated rather than empathetic.

Marina is an intelligent young woman who allowed herself to be sexually manipulated, ok she’s young, impressionable and naïve but come on…in all honesty I just couldn’t care less about any of the characters.

It was too slow and lacked plot and I’m not entirely sure what story this author was trying to tell…. I was just constantly waiting for something to happen, for the book to pick up pace but it never did. Oh and don’t get me started on the Hungarian accents which, to me, sounded very cliché darlink…

I only really got slightly interested towards the very end where there was small mystery to solve. Unfortunately a miss for me 🙁

p.s apologies to my book club members who also read this and were less than enthused. 4/5 members did not enjoy!

Links: Goodreads | Amazon


  1. 22nd December 2015 / 9:45 am

    On the bright side, you’ve probably just saved quite a few people from reading it! 🙂

    • 22nd December 2015 / 1:57 pm

      I know I wouldn’t recommend this book but that kind of makes me feel guilty as I’m sure someone out there will like it (just not me!)

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