Book Reviews

Book Review: Bluebird

By Genevieve Graham

Publication Date:  April 5, 2022

352 Pages

In modern-day Windsor, Ontario, a contractor brings museum curator Cassie Simmons whiskey bottles he found in a wall while renovating an old house.  The brand name on the label is Bailey Brothers’ Best and he’s curious as to their origins.  Cassie knows the name and the house where they were found – it used to be her home and is still inhabited by ghosts best left to rest.  But she’s also curious as to why the bottles were walled up.  Her research reveals a family past she could never have imagined.

In 1918 Belgium, Adele volunteers as a Canadian nurse just behind the front lines.  She meets tunneler Jerry Bailey, who was wounded when Germans overran his tunnel.  They begin a sweet romance and Jerry promises to find her after the war.

Once Jerry returns home to Windsor with his brother John, they find the town completely changed from when they left to go to war.  Prohibition has gone into effect and the once sleepy town is reaping the rewards from bootlegging and rum running.  Jerry and John decide to get into the game and over the span of a few years, turn their fortunes around.  Jerry reunites with Adele and just when it appears their family has everything they could hope for, the rum running game turns ugly enough to threaten their future happiness.

I apologize for the rather long plot summary, there’s a lot of really good stuff going on in this book.  From war-torn Belgium to the Roaring Twenties, Graham has captured the tension and despair of war and the glitter of the Prohibition era as if she actually lived it.  Adele and Jerry have a love story that would make nearly anyone envious – it’s that sweet.  There wasn’t a single character in this book that I didn’t like – not even the antagonist. They were all fleshed out and well realized. I’ll admit, I wasn’t fond of Adele’s sister Marie at first, but she came around and redeemed herself.  

“Bluebird” as interpreted by Wombo Dream

The majority of the book focuses on Adele and Jerry in the nineteen teens and twenties, building up to why the whiskey bottles were walled up and apparently forgotten.  It’s a story I got lost in.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same about the modern-day story for Cassie.  Although not a short book, there are only about five chapters dedicated to Cassie and I really wanted more out of that story line.  The ending felt a bit rushed and expected.  There wasn’t any tension there, it all got used up in the past timeline, which was enough to fall in love with this book but I would have been happy to read an additional thirty pages or so to have the modern day timeline fleshed out more.

So, while I’m a fan of Genevieve Graham and this is definitely a book worth picking up as soon as it’s released, I’m keeping my rating at four stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing the ARC copy of this book. I have left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.


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