Review: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman


3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately drawn to this book on Netgalley due to its title. As a Museum Studies graduate, and a museum worker, it intrigued me. However, it was a while before I finally got round to reading it, at a time when I needed to escape from the science fiction and fantasy genres (that doesn’t happen often!) and branch out a bit.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things is definitely a unique novel. Set in a period of history I don’t often read about, yet in a city I have read plenty about, it felt refreshing and different. The unusual topic – the ‘museums’, or rather halls of curiosities, that were popular at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, only added to this. Within the first 5% of the book, I was struck by the beauty of Alice Hoffman’s writing. I’ve not read any of her work before this, but after reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things I would definitely give some of her other books a try.

Yet whilst I enjoyed the writing style, the pacing was far too slow for me. It felt as though not much really happened during the course of the book, and at some points it dragged a little. Despite being labelled or portrayed as a romance, or at least as having romantic elements, I wasn’t really feeling it. The relationship was too sudden and made little sense – and additionally, I didn’t feel an attachment to any character.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things is unique and beautifully written, but was ultimately too slow for my liking, as well as lacking any real feeling.