Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D. Brink. Before I get into the review, I would like to say a massive thank you to him for being kind enough to send me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
My Gypsy War Diary follows the protagonist (whose name I believe is never mentioned, as it is told as a diary) when he moves to Norfolk, meeting the elderly Mrs Scholes. The two soon strike up an unusual but lovely friendship, becoming very close over the years. One day, however, someone breaks into Mrs Scholes’ home, demanding to know where Milo’s Bible is. Suddenly the protagonist is thrown into a whole world of trouble – and it is up to him to save his friend and himself…
I think the one major thing which stood out to me in this book was the friendship. Despite the considerable age difference, Mrs Scholes and the main character struck a really nice friendship, which was lovely to see. It was clear how much they both cared about each other – as demonstrated through different difficult situations they found themselves in – and it was what motivated the protagonist to undertake such a dangerous journey. If it wasn’t for that initial friendship, there wouldn’t have been a story!
Of course, this friendship was formed during the main character’s childhood, which was also really interesting to read. I really enjoyed reading about his childhood and it definitely helped build up to events later on in the book. There were also some clues to the twist during his childhood, although I didn’t actually pick up on these at the time.
I also really enjoyed the action and adventure. The quest undertaken was no small task and I really enjoyed reading about it. The protagonist’s journey was really interesting and there were definitely some tense moments and near misses. The action really propelled things forward and the adventure really helped with keeping me engaged… I couldn’t wait to read what happened next!
Of course, there wouldn’t have even been a quest to go on without the mystery. There was a lot of history between Mrs Scholes and the gypsies, and the true events of what had happened were shrouded with mystery. When the protagonist discovered this he was immediately sent on his journey to stop them before it was too late – and the mystery didn’t end there, with one major twist towards the end that I can honestly say I didn’t see coming until maybe a few pages before it was revealed.
I also generally liked the characters in this book. The protagonist was incredibly brave and funny, and I really admired Mrs Scholes’ kindness, which made for two very likeable main characters. I also found it interesting reading about the gypsies, particularly Tabitha – although her character wasn’t particularly interesting it was fascinating to read!
I also really like the humour scattered in there. It really helped to break up the tense moments and relieve some of the suspense. I mentioned earlier that the protagonist was funny and this was definitely the case – his comments and commentaries on some of the events were very amusing to read, and definitely added to my enjoyment of the story!
I think the balance of humour with the action and suspense really highlighted Shawn’s talent. His writing style was really refreshing to read and I really enjoyed it. The descriptions, although still vivid, weren’t overdone or too simplistic and he really struck the right balance. I think I will definitely be having a look at some of his other works as I really loved his writing!
The ending was also great. I really enjoyed how the story played out and it was nice to see how everything was tied up. There was also a relatively happy ending, without giving away too much, which is always nice to see!
Overall, I would recommend My Gypsy War Diary to anyone searching for an awesome adventure of friendship and the search for treasure. I would also recommend it for any fan of mysteries, as the mystery behind the Scholes’ family and exactly what had taken place was really interesting.
I hope you enjoyed this review!