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  • Writer's pictureFran Clark

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - Book Review Best historical fiction novel, Brit Bennett

Updated: Jun 1, 2023



Book cover for paperback The Vanishing Half, Britt Bennett

Absolutely enjoyed this book! As my title says it's by far my Best historical fiction novel, Brit Bennett or any author, I've read this year! I was lucky to have found it in the pile of books my sister-in-law was going to take to the charity shop. It sat on my shelf for a while before I decided to give it a go. What a gem it turned out to be.


Many of you will know the premise so I won't bore you with it. I'll just get down to what I loved. Firstly, Bennett's writing style. Effortless in that it doesn't make you work too hard and draws you into her world with ease. Sometimes when a setting is in an unfamiliar place or a time that you are unfamiliar with, you don't want to do research to get to grips with the story. Bennett takes you back in time and, if you're not from that part of the US, you can visual the place and feel as if you are there. That is a talent that some writers fall down on.


Language and dialogue was easy to understand, though again, from a different time and place. But Bennett uses these devices to develop great characters. The characters, whether you liked them or not, were beautifully crafted. You could get a real sense of them and understand their motives.


The plot was simple and not that original but that didn't matter. These were real life situations and I cared about the characters. Don't look for a convoluted plot lines or two million twists. You won't find them here. What you will find is a lovely study into human nature and what drives us as people. The themes of family, racism, sexuality and relationships are strong in this book and well observed, giving the reader plenty of food for thought. I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come.


I think this is my favourite read of 2023 and I will seeking out Bennett's debut novel and the next book she has published!


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