Review: The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin


Title: The Accidentals

Author: Minrose Gwin

Published: August 13th 2019, William Morrow

Status: Read August 2019 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:

It was the blurb of The Accidentals that caught my attention, promising a generational story focused primarily on two sisters, June and Grace McAlister, beginning in the 1950’s with the death of their mother, Olivia, from a botched backyard abortion.

I liked the first quarter of this novel, which concentrated on the sisters’ child and teen years after the loss of their mother, and feel that had Gwin kept this her focus, I would have been quite satisfied. Unfortunately I soon began to feel that the characters became passengers, rather than agents, of the story.

The author seemed determined to make reference to every topical social issue possible, including but not limited to, homosexuality, abortion, teen pregnancy, racism, ‘passing’, mental illness, gender inequality, Alzheimers, cancer, the rights of felons to vote, as well as touching on major cultural events such as WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Challenger Disaster, and Obama’s Inaugural Presidential Run. As such, much like the birds – the ‘accidental’s’ that lose their way = so too does this story.

Which is a shame, because it’s clear that Gwin can write, and there was a lot of good here. It’s an emotionally charged novel, perhaps bleaker than I was expecting, but also often moving and sincere.

I didn’t dislike The Accidental’s, it just didn’t quite work for me, but it may well work for you.

Read a sample


Available from HarperCollins US

Or from your preferred retailer via Indiebound I Book Depository

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Veronica The Burgeoning Bookshelf
    Aug 07, 2019 @ 18:54:47

    I feel trying to cover too many social issues just makes a book sound contrived. I much prefer to have more concentration on a couple of connecting issues.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Tanya Atkinson
    Aug 07, 2019 @ 19:58:07

    What a disappointment. I’ve read a few books before that felt similarly – like the author felt the need to throw in everything issue under the sun. And it just wasn’t needed. I don’t know if the author was trying to make the story “relevant” or “important” but all it did was muddy what could have been a good story. Sounds like the same thing here. What a shame.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Vicki
    Aug 08, 2019 @ 03:33:04

    Thanks for this honest review! This book is a pass for me.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Susie | Novel Visits
    Aug 08, 2019 @ 12:55:58

    It’s funny, but your comments about The Accidentals are similar to how I felt about Gwin’s last book Promise. For me that story was super repetitive and had way too much going on. I think she’s an author that’s a ‘one and done’ for me!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Helen Murdoch
    Aug 09, 2019 @ 01:53:57

    Too bad this didn’t work for you because the premise sounds good. Perhaps it needed a really good editor.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Theresa Smith Writes
    Aug 09, 2019 @ 10:51:20

    Social issues overload!

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Beth F
    Aug 09, 2019 @ 20:43:55

    I hate it when an author thinks she has to tackle every single social issue in one story.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. the bookworm
    Aug 10, 2019 @ 00:10:01

    That’s too bad it ended up falling apart like that. The premise sounds interesting. Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

    Liked by 1 person


  9. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundaySalon #SundayPost | book'd out

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