Samuel Nowak, by Caitlyn J Bolton, is a historical fiction which follows one young man as he immigrates from Russia to England. He has a hard childhood, with rocky relationships. He does however have a wonderful friend with whom he goes to university and then they both go on to start families of their own. This is in the early 20th Century however, and a weak man must learn to live through hard times, and a Great War. How will he survive?
I’m going to tell you straight off that I’m biased in this review. Caitlyn is the wonderful woman behind Mad Cheshire Rabbit and one of my best bookish friends. So yeah, just a wee bit of bias here! However, I’ve done my very best to be subjective in how I rated this book. So fingers crossed this is still a decent review, but I thought I should let you know upfront.
Now onto the review of the book itself. I liked it! I will say, to start with a negative, that from the synopsis I had been expecting the book to take place more within the setting of the Great War itself, rather than leading up to the event. And I also wasn’t expecting as much discussion and philosophising. I have read more classics since reading this, however. Which is a genre that Caitlyn loves and I hadn’t been overly exposed to, and this really does fall in line with those. I think the book that I could closest match it to in emotive feeling would be Frankenstein. It has the same layout of discussing family, discussing the wrongs that were carried out with the best of intentions but which hurt people, and being focused around, but not on, a large event.
If you enjoy reading classics I really do recommend picking up Samuel Nowak, genuinely. I know I’m biased but I really do think that this is a great first book from Caitlyn and I can’t wait to read more books that she writes!
For my CAWPILE ratings I gave:
- characters: 7
- atmosphere: 5
- writing: 6
- plot: 7
- intrigue: 7
- logic: 6
- enjoyment: 6
For an overall 6.29 which is a 3*. To be quite honest, this was me trying not to be too biased. I would much rather rate it 4*s, but I’m worried that if I rate it too highly people will think I just like it cause I like Caitlyn!
Please do give this book a go, barely anyone has read it and I need more people to give their opinions on the book!!!
Highlight for trigger warnings: child abuse, alcohol abuse, war, war trauma, physical injuries, miscarriage, mental illness
If you have read this please let me know what you thought!