A review by drexedit
Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

emotional hopeful reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


Thank you to GroveAtlantic for this opportunity to review the #ARC. 

Small Things Like These is set in Ireland in the mid-1980s recession as we follow Bill Furlong through several days approaching Christmas. As the holiday season approaches, Bill reflects on his life, both present and past. Bill's life is pretty ordinary, except when you look closely and really notice things; it's the small things that matter.

I love Claire Keegan's writing. Her details paint a picture and engage our emotions and senses. As in this scene where Bill reflects on scenes from his current Christmas which leads to remembering past Christmases:
"Again, he found himself thinking back to his time out at Wilson's, and reasoned that he'd just had too much time to dwell and had turned sentimental because of all the coloured lights and the music, and the sight of Joan singing with the choir, how she looked like she belonged there, with all the others -- and the scent of the lemon which took him back to his mother at Christmastime in the fine, old kitchen; how she used to put what was left of the lemon into one of the blue jugs with sugar to steep and dissolve overnight and had made cloudy lemonade."

The book is dedicated to the women and children who suffered in Ireland's Magdalen laundries. The subject matter makes this a difficult Christmas story to read, but it is ultimately a heartwarming and hopeful story. Because you can change someone's life for the better. It only takes a small thing.