The Honours is a book that I bought upon the recommendation of Robert in Jarrold’s book department during independent bookshop week. It is a book that had caught my eye in the past – mainly the design of the oversized paperback with a half-sized dust jacket of the clashing green. I loved the overall appearance of this book.
So needless to say, with a recommendation from someone I trust, I went in to this book with very high hopes! It was one that took some time to get in to – I was still waiting for the ‘weird’ to kick in at 175 pages and I was starting to get frustrated, it has to be said. I almost gave up and then I went in to Jarrold’s and spoke with Robert and that really gave me the motivation to continue. I’m really glad I did!
This book follows Delphine, a slightly precocious 12/3 year old at the brink of WWII. Her parents and her end up at this manor house in the Norfolk countryside which is filled with outrageous characters. Delphine has a gut feeling that something weird is going on and noone believes her – she is seen as a nuisance by pretty much everyone. It starts off very slowly, it took me over half of the book before I was actually fully invested in it, I really struggled with the first half. Then it starts to get a little weird and, Robert was right, I liked it. There was this undertone throughout the first half that did give that hint that it was going to get a bit hinky, but then BOOM suddenly you’re thrown in to this mad, fantasy story. It did feel a little forced, maybe. I can’t quite put my finger on it…
Tim Clare is a poet. In parts of this you can very much tell that he is a poet. The writing is beautiful, it sort of sweeps over you and whisks you away in to Delphine’s world. It was rich and full of imagery and once I got in to it, an absolute pleasure to read.
So, while I loved the second half. The first half really pulls this down so it was very easy to give this book 3*, it has its good and it has its bad points so a nice “I liked it” suffices. I’ll definitely be checking out some of Tim Clare’s poetry in the future though because his prose is wonderful!