Monday, August 24, 2020

Review & Giveaway: It Started in Budapest by Julie Daines

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Molly Cooper is haunted by one simple fact: it is her fault her twin brother, Matthew, has spent his life trapped in a frail body while she has thrived. Deep in her heart, she knows he can’t hold on much longer . . .

In her desperation to save her brother, Molly finds inspiration in an unlikely source: the newly published novel Dracula. When her family embarks on the Orient Express to seek treatment for Matthew in Bulgaria, Molly is prepared to set her plan in motion: she will sneak away from her parents and journey alone to Transylvania, where she will seek a vampire, whose blood can make her brother immortal. Molly’s rash plan is going flawlessly—until she encounters Percy Hunt, a handsome American traveler running from the shadows of his own past. When he discovers Molly’s plan, Percy’s concern for the naive young woman leaves him no choice but to accompany her on her strange quest. But neither Percy nor Molly is prepared for the feelings that quickly grow between them or for the death-defying escapade that awaits.

My Review

First off, I just have to say how much I loved the setting in this book since it reminded me of my first trip to Europe last summer. It felt like I was back on my foreign adventure with everything new and unfamiliar, yet grounded in reality. We quickly get to know Molly and her family circumstances, which comes with an extreme dose of guilt for her brother's infirmities and an irrational phobia of the color white. I was surprised by her naive yet desperate belief that she can encounter a vampire if she follows the travels of Bram Stoker's character Jonathan Harker as told in Dracula. I haven't read the book (although I want to now!) and after learning that it's written as a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, and ships' log entries, I can understand why Molly may have put faith in the realistic presentation of the paranormal story. 

I loved her rocky friendship with Percy, her self-appointed protector, who follows her as she gets in one predicament after another. The revealing of both Molly and Percy's deeper layers amidst their journey kept me interested in seeing how they could manage a happily ever after. There are powerful themes of death, grief, loneliness, duty, and loyalty. I was in tears as Molly learned some difficult but beautiful lessons about the fragility of life, the strength we can find in ourselves and those around us, and the inner peace that we can find in our faith. There is a lovely balance of adventure, excitement, and danger with quieter moments of connection and introspection.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!