Monday Mini Review: American Gypsy Romance Short Story Collection by Alessa Martel

Happy Monday! We’re halfway through October, how did that happen? Is this month treating you well? It’s been pretty chaotic for me at work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because there are so many tangible blessings and lessons coming from this season. Each individual occurrence may not be exactly what I would like, but as a whole, I really appreciate how things are going. Last week we had a staff development day, so all the libraries in the county shut down Monday and all staff came together for an incredible day of training, learning about our community, and encouraging one another. Then on Tuesday I got to go with one of the children’s programming staff members and visit a daycare, where we signed kids and parents up for library cards and the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program (if you haven’t heard about this and you have preschoolers in your life, I highly encourage you to look into it! It sounds fun!). Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties and the laptop we took with us didn’t work, but we made do! Our HVAC system is still out at the moment, too, so working conditions in the library are manageable but unfortunately not ideal, and a lot of customers are cranky about it. But I digress!

I have a short review today, covering a collection of clean short story romances, centering around a Romany community.

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American Gypsy Romance Collection coverAbout the Book

Title: American Gypsy Romance Short Story Collection (contains the short stories Willow, Charity, Esme, Tatiana, Zofia, Sansa, Ruby, Caroline, and Rebecca)

Author: Alessa Martel

Genre: Contemporary YA (clean) Romance

Original Publication Date: summer 2019

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My (Short) Thoughts

I enjoyed every story in this collection! The stories are short and easy to read, and I whipped through them in about a week, reading about half an hour a day on my lunch break. There is some redundancy in the themes and messages, but that is to be expected when reading an anthology like this. The characters are interesting, but I wish we could have had more time to get to know each of them! The fact that these girls are part of a Romany (gypsy) community is central to the stories, and while it plays into each story, I don’t feel like I learned much about the community by reading this. There are references to “our way of life/culture/beliefs,” but never an explanation of what that means. Obviously, dating customs are an exception to this – they are necessarily explained. Still, I would have liked something less vague about the girls’ backgrounds, in order to better understand their feelings and thoughts towards their suitors and situations. Similarly, several of the stories end rather abruptly, and while I can appreciate a Happily Ever After as much as the next girl, I also want to know that their happiness truly lasts! And I don’t have much evidence for believing that in some of the stories. Sure, the immediate conflict is always resolved, but sometimes there are bigger-picture things left unresolved. Basically, I guess I want a sequel!

 

The Verdict

Ultimately, I enjoyed these stories and do recommend them! There is room for growth for the author, but this remains something to be proud of! The stories are unique from anything else I have read or even heard of in the YA realm, and the writing is solid. If you’re looking for a feel-good story involving Gypsies and clean young romance, this is the book for you!

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It’s been a while since I did a Monday Mini of any kind, especially an Mini Review, but I think this collection lends itself well to the concept! Fun fact: Alessa Martel, the author of this story, ” the pen name of a writing team consisting of a high school sophomore and her mother, a bestselling, award-winning author of young adult and historical romance fiction.” That in itself is impressive to me! Any kind of team writing is daunting to me, and especially with a relative…I know I couldn’t do it! It also adds to the stories, and helps me understand better why some things were written the way that they were. Honestly, I think it’s fascinating.

Do you think you could ever team-write with a relative? Or do you know of any good novels that feature Romany culture and do a good job of explaining the elements?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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