Book Review | Small Island by Andrea Levy

International Women's Day Reading Recommendations (3)

Published: 2004 by Headline Review

Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: War, Race, Immigration, Marriage

Length: 448 Pages

Source: Hardback, Own

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers!

Finally. I have finally read this book. I think I must of bought a copy of this in 2014 with every intention to read it straight away. And did I read it? Nope. It’s sat on my bookshelf since then glaring at me telling me ‘read me, you know you’ll love me’ and finally I listening to it. And I did love it, so much so I read this, a 400+ page book, in less than a day.


Set during and post-World War II ‘Small Island’ primarily follows four characters. First are Hortense and Gilbert, newly weds from Jamaica who emigrate to England after WWII. There we see them experiencing racism and racial ignorance and follow their struggle to find employment.

We also follow Queenie, who becomes their lodger and Bernard, Queenie’s husband who went missing during the war.

All vastly different characters but all connected in an extroadinary way. With these four characters this book talks about war, race, immigration, marriage and love.


I loved reading about all four of the the characters. Sometimes when books try and talk from the perspective of multiple people they all just sound the same, but Levy was able to craft a unqiue voice for each of the characters. They each get a good share of time on the page and you get to know each one really well.


Even though this is a 400+ page book I read it in almost a day. I just flew through the story not wanting to let these characters go. While this book is well known I still think it’s vastly under-rated and I highly recommend it!

Would You Read Again? Yes!
Would You Recommend? Yes!

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

6 thoughts on “Book Review | Small Island by Andrea Levy

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