Book Review: All The Little Bird Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.


All The Little Bird Hearts drew me in because I was looking for another Eleanor Oliphant. It meant that, possibly, I never really gave this book a full chance. However, I just don’t think it was for me, even if I had picked it up with no expectations.

I can’t exactly put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book. The writing was good; very lyrical and soft. There were layers to the story. The characters had a sense of complexity. At the same time, I found it too slow of a read, the story didn’t make me want to pick up the book, and I couldn’t get on board with the characters.

More on the characters. Sunday, Dolly and Vita were all rather refreshing characters. They developed throughout the book, although at times I felt like I never really knew them (which is not necessarily a bad thing as it makes you think). I swayed between liking and disliking Dolly and Vita, finally settling on dislike by the end. Sunday was probably the only character I felt some sort of empathy towards. I feel she was very hard done by and deserved more than the people in her life. She also reminded me not to judge people and how they choose to live their lives, even if I don’t think it is the best for them.

If you are interested in All The Little Bird Hearts, I suggest reading the other reviews on Goodreads. They are mostly positive but will add some weight to your decision to read as I am somehow unable to pinpoint my feelings on this one. You can also pick up a copy of the book here.


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