A few months ago, Sarah and I co-read All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher – we figured it would also be good to review it as well as use a recipe from it! We can tell you now that the Victoria sponge recipe is pretty damn great. The book needs a little more discussion however so dive in to see my thoughts on it.
All That She Can See was an interesting read. The best way to talk about this book we think would be to talk about it in parts. The beginning, middle and end. Each of these parts honestly felt like different books, and it seems best to talk about them sort of individually and then come together about the characters and the actual plot etc.
The beginning of this book (the first 100 pages) was wonderful. It had such a whimsical tone and it felt really breezy to read. It’s strange to describe a book like that, but it completely drew you into the world and was just wonderful. It starts off with Cherry and her bakery, and her ability to lift moods of others with her baking. It’s set in a small town with a small cast of really unique and quirky characters, which make it that little bit more whimsical. The middle is very similar – more conflict than the start, particularly with the introduction of the romantic interest.
I wasn’t personally a fan of this romance. It was a little enemies to lovers vibe and I’m not huge on that trope anyway. They connected because they both had these ‘powers’ and they discover more about them as the story continues. I think my favourite thing about this book was the side characters. The characters who visited Cherry’s bakery were the most adorable and eclectic mix of people. They offered insight to the rest of the town and helped us to understand Cherry’s personality and how she acted around them.
We then got to the last third. The story got really dark really quickly. It suddenly became this kind of dystopian thriller which was very tense and dramatic. The idea of it was great but the tone completely shifted from the rest of the book which took me out of the story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if intended – I just personally didn’t enjoy it. It was too much of a tonal shift for me. I think the story went too far and didn’t make sense in comparison to the beginning. The magical elements were really brilliant – I loved the idea that Cherry could see emotions and see how people felt. She was a very wholesome character with great little quirks and wonderful connections with those in the cafe. I truly enjoyed the first half of the book but the ending just brought it down for me.
The ending seemed a little strange. If there wasn’t the middle to flesh it out, there was absolutely no chance I would have assumed these two books were the same. The way the story develops is definitely interesting and there aren’t many books that mix contemporary and dystopian in the way that Carrie does, and it makes for an interesting and unusual read – even if it can’t always be kept up with.
Of course, most books have a clear beginning, middle and end but it did stick out in this book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I thought the beginning and middle flowed together really well however the ending didn’t seem to fit at all. It felt like the end was a separate book and story which was forced into the narrative. I really don’t think that it worked.
Have you read All That She Can See? What were your thoughts?