Title: The Awakening of Miss Prim
Author: Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Publisher: Atria Books [imprint of Simon & Schuster]
Date Published: July 8, 2014
Format: Galley– Provided in exchange of a fair review
Prudencia Prim is a young woman who is looking for something different from her life in a big city. She moves to a remote village in France, San Ireneo, to work as a librarian in a large mansion. She is a highly intelligent woman; she has a great knowledge of literature and philosophy as well as holds a few different college degrees, but she also allows herself to be a little sentimental. When she arrive at the village she is surprised at how backwards everything is. This is a town were tea-time is taken very seriously and everyone seems to be able to quote Thoreau and Dante with ease. Miss Prim clashes with them often and the novel is full of philosophical debates and arguments about everything from home schooling to the necessity of having young girls read Little Women (any book that mentions how awesome Little Women is as a plot point is a total win for me).
The Awakening of Miss Prim is a very thoughtful book. There is not a ton of plot here. Not much actually happens in San Ireneo. At first I was bored with this book; I was waiting for something to happen. When I had gotten about a third of the way through, I realized that it wasn’t going to pick up, it just wasn’t that kind of book. And you know what, after I had that realization I started really enjoying it. This book will make you think, and it’s been a while since I’ve had a book do that. It presents all these different topics and the characters debate them endlessly. They never really give a “right” answer, which encourages us to come to our own conclusions.
You can feel how influential both Lousia May Alcott and Jane Austen were to Fenollera. She constantly alludes to them in the story and at times points out when she “rips them off.” If you enjoy the works of either of those authors there is a good chance you will like what Fenollera does here. The romance in this book is lovely, but you shouldn’t go to this book looking for something sweet and light. Miss Prim and her “Man in the Wingchair”, as she calls him, have their fair share of disagreements and different stances on big issues, but you’ll have to read the book to see how that all works out!
Cover Critique: I really like this cover. It’s colorful and sets this book apart from everything else out there. It is a little busy, but it’s done well and is perfect for the type of book this is.
Quick Version: The Awakening of Miss Prim is a book that doesn’t just want to give you a light-hearted romance, it wants to make you think. There is very little action in this book, I mean there is a whole plot point that is about whether or not Mr. Darcy is the “perfect man” and another about the pros and cons of matchmaking, but if you accept that, I believe this can be an enjoyable read.
Score: 4/5 stars 😀