Cover Image: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

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A gentle, loving read that occasionally needs a tissue. That's The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle. Cain's novel has a deep and well-developed cast of supporting characters, but Albert and his transformation take the show. Now, this is not a fast-paced page-turner, so find another book if that's what floats your boat. But if you love English novels like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I think you'll love this book. The underlying theme centers around a 64-year-old gay man finally reckoning with who he is. The back story is essential history as it takes the reader through the oppression and persecution of gay men from the '60s up into the 90s. Many younger people (and older straight people) may be surprised at what they learn. Make sure to read the interviews of real older gay men at the back of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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4.25 stars

Albert Entwistle is a 64 year-old postman. He lives alone with his gray cat Gracie, and most of his days are made up of routines. This changes when he receives a letter from HR, saying that they have a mandatory retirement age of 65, and in three months time Albert will have to say goodbye to his beloved job. As the new year rolls around and he has to say goodbye to Gracie, Albert is affronted with his loneliness and is inspired to change his life. He wants to track down the boy he was in love with growing up, someone he hasn't seen in fifty years. Worried about coming out as a gay man so late in life, Albert goes on many adventures with the people in his community and reminisces on his teenage love.

This story was so beautiful! It truly is a great book if you loved A Man Called Ove or any of TJ Klune's novels. I loved reading about Albert coming to terms with his identity and truly proving that you're never too old to find yourself. A little declarative at times, but I loved all of the characters we got to meet, and it gives those good 'found family' vibes as Albert becomes closer with the members of his community.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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"The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle" is a novel about a closeted gay man, who's always been afraid of letting people see who he truly is. Albert's been a postman all of his life, and he adores is job, as it allows him to avoid talking to people and be left alone. However, when he's asked to retire from his job at 65, he's left to wonder what his life truly was about. He's got no friends or family, no partner... So he decides to live a little and find his long lost love.
What I enjoyed the most was peeling off Albert's layers one by one, and understanding the reasons why he became the man he is at 65. His entire childhood was shaped by homophobia, and he never felt safe or free enough to overcome that fear even once equal marriage was made legal or when more and more queer couples were seen. The novel focuses on the importance of find your people and sticking by them, flaws and all. 
Despite its predictability, Cain did a good job in delivering a sweet book.
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"And if I love him a little bit more today, I'll love him a whole lot more tomorrow."

This book was an absolute pleasure to read! 

If you're a fan of second chances, lost love and fate tying loose ends, this book is perfect for you.

My favourite thing about this was Albert's character and how he intersected through various other characters in a fleeting yet vulnerable ways. His hesitation for public gatherings, blues about life and general perspective was so relatable. This made me so happy and so sad at times.

But as Taylor Swift says, all's well that ends well to end up with you! 🌈
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A lonely postman is forced into retirement at 65 breaking his carefully constructed routine. This break in routine forces Albert to look at his life and make changes that allows him to be happy. 

It took me a while to get into this book but I’m glad I stuck with it to see where Alberts story ends up.
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4/5⭐️

This book sounded like such a joy, so I’m so thankful to @KensingtonBooks and @Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This queer literary fiction novel follows Albert, a closeted 64-year-old postman, as he goes on a journey to find not just his long-lost teenage sweetheart, but a community, self love, and his own happiness.

This book is proof that it isn’t about the destination, but the journey! The conclusion to this story was sweet and satisfactory, but the real joy came from following Albert’s character development. He starts out dull and not quite lovable, but as the story unfolds, he does too, and we get to see his tenderness and the love he has for others!

It’s quite a slow-paced story, but the flashbacks to Albert’s youth and the dual POV kept my interest throughout the entire novel. The POV shift between Albert and 19-year-old Nicole, a single mother who befriends Albert and helps him on his journey, and I found myself completely captured by both their perspectives!

The big difference between Nicole and Albert made for a very unique and super enjoyable story. It touches on so many important aspects of British culture, including race and class differences, motherhood, homophobia and queer history and much more.

While the novel is a bit heavy at first, it quickly grows into such a heartwarming tale, feeling almost like a hug to the soul! It’s just such a lovely time, so if you’re looking for a charming read with some depth, this is perfect!
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Unfortunately, this book did not catch my attention. Originally, I was hopeful this would be a good read based off the description, but I just couldn’t get into it. Life is too short and my TBR is too long to force myself to read a book I’m not enjoying, so I DNF this one.
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First, I'd like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for granting me digital ARCS of the book and audiobook. And now for the review itself:

How my heart broke for young Albert! He grew up in the 1950s and his father was a homophobic policeman who took sadistic pleasure in arresting gay men who frequented cruising spots. When teenage Albert falls in love with a boy from his schools the odds are definitely not in their favor.

It's not until the book is almost over that readers learn exactly why Albert and George's relationship ended, but in the meantime we meet 64-year-old Albert and see how his internalized homophobia created a lonely old-man who was afraid of being himself with anyone. He has been a postman for all his adult life and is being forced to retire; this inspires him to search for George, which, in turn, inspires him to start coming out to different people in his life.

Albert is an unforgettable protagonist, but the supporting cast is no less lovable. It was easy to get lost in their world and while away an afternoon listening to Simon Vance while reading along on my Kindle.
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I'm a sucker for the unlikely friendship books which have been enjoying a renewed popularity.  This is the story of Albert, a nearly retired postman and Nicole, a 19 year old single mother. Albert has kept to himself for many years but his forced retirement has made him think about a life he could have had. One final sad event makes him to go for it and he enlists the help of Nicole, who has her own share of love problems.

I thought some of the story was a little predictable, yet I was still happy with the ending. I loved the various people he worked with at the post office, loved Nicole and her boyfriend's family, but most of all, I loved Albert. I was angry on his behalf. His parents were wrong.  I cheered him.on from my reading chair the minute he hatched his plan.  It's the second book  I've read recently about an older generation of gay men in England having to hide who they were.

Everyone deserves to love who they love and to be loved, and everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Thank you, Netgalley, for the chance to read and review this book. All opinions are mine and are freely given.
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This is a hard read. It's cute don't get me wrong but the life Albert lived is just sad and the flash backs. Still these stories are always a feel good in the end.
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[3.75] there’s nothing quite as deeply gratifying and touching as an older protagonist finding their happiness 😊
 
on the cusp of compulsory retirement, 64-year-old <b>Albert Entwistle</b> reaches a crossroads that prompts him to take honest stock of his woefully closeted and solitary existence. it’s floundering at his lowest that has him desperately grabbing onto a newfound drive to rectify his greatest regret surrounding the boy he loved in his teenage years and reclaim his life.

this uplifting tale is more than making up for past wrongs, but at its essence, a love story in relation to community, friends, and self. Albert’s gradual rediscovery of his place in the world reminds us of how interpersonal connections are what keep us tethered in the uncertainty and ever-changing landscape of life, and that it's never too late for change.

while his path to self-acceptance is imbued with fairytale zeal, both idealistically smooth and formulaic, it still managed to warm my cold heart and fill it with tender hope.

a worthy homage to the older generations who fought and sacrificed everything in the name of lgbtq+ rights, this book will leave you grinning up at the sky with a soft smile.

<i>Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review :)</i>
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This is the first time where the protagonist is a lot older than most characters I’ve read lately.  It was an actual treat.  This book gave me positive vibes and you just want to root for Albert.

After being forced to retire and his only house companion is a cat named Gracie, had to be put to sleep, 64 year old, Albert, found himself more alone than ever.  One day, he found a tin in his mother’s room and that’s when he decides to change the trajectory of his new life.

It’s about lost love, healing, and new friendships.  It’s about coming out of the closet and out of his shell.  It’s also about acceptance and determination.

There are a few trigger warnings such as homophobic dad, flashbacks of the 60s and 70s where discrimination of gays in UK were extensive, police assault. 

It was a fast paced, touching, and worth the read.

Thank you, @netgalley, and @kensingtonbooks, for the eARC and in return, an honest review.
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When an author writes characters that go straight to your heart and you have to wipe away tears constantly to read, it is such a heartbreaking and wonderful feeling! It amazes me that someone can write a fictional world that means so much to me!  Matt Cain wrote a fabulous book filled with struggle, sadness, emotional pain, pride, triumph and so much love.  I adore Albert and so many of the other characters and I cheered them on while I read about the uphill battle to become their best self.

The main focus of this book is that situations in Albert’s teen years affect him for the rest of his life. It also is about the need to have people that support and care about you in your life and that you cannot live in a secret life and be fulfilled. Of course the book is so much more than I tried to summarize in two sentences.  I do not have the words to express all that is within the pages of this story.  I hope you will read it for yourself and be immersed in Albert’s world, as I was.

I am a fan of UK books but live in the US, and often am not able to read books I find so interesting while looking at UK book community postings.  I saw this book a year ago and had to wait a long time before I was able to read.  It was well worth the year long wait!

A huge thank you Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me the immense pleasure of reading the advance reader copy, with no obligation to write a review. My review is written freely as a hobby, and is totally my own opinion, not influenced by receiving the ARC.
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What a delightful book! This had similar vibes to TJ Klune’s work, so if you like that, you’ll probably like this book! It was well-written, heartwarming, and just plain fun!
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”Albert realized that this was his chance to fill his own life with love—and he had to take it.”

Grab your tissues and get ready for this book to punch you right in the feels. The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is like A Man Called Ove, but make it gay. It’s a story of loneliness, isolation, and a lifetime’s worth of hurts, slowly mended and made into something new through found-family, community, and belonging.

”One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that people can only really like you if you show them the real you and give them the chance to.”

I almost couldn’t get through the first half of the book for how badly my heart broke for Albert, his childhood entirely devoid of compassion, and the barren aloneness of his now-adult life. I’m rumored to have sold my tear ducts on the black market, but even my cold dead self was moved to tears more than once to read about this sweet old man and his desperate need to fill the emptiness surrounding him.

”He told himself he preferred it this way, and tried not to feel a pang of sadness when confronted with the stark evidence of how few people cared about him.”

But powering through the heartbreak was worth it, because watching Albert accept his true self, and find people who would love and accept him too, was utterly delightful. If you love radically-accepting gay bars, socially-awkward postmen, elderly drag queens, or stories of friends who become family, you will adore this book.

”Part of me feels like a fraud who doesn’t deserve to be here, and the other part feels like I’ve finally found my people.”

——

A huge thank you to Matt Cain, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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4.5/5. I thought this was such a lovely and heart-warming book. The amount of times I teared up was staggering. Albert is a wonderful main character. I loved how his backstory unfolded, and I thought his inner dialogue was both funny and heartbreaking. I don't often find books about older protagonists like this, but Albert's particular story was so sweet and inspiring.

I thought the writing was very engaging. I enjoyed Nicole's story as well and her friendship with Albert. Watching these two characters find more confidence and happiness brought me so much joy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy!
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This was a quiet and sweet book about a quiet and sweet man finding his community after being cut off from it for so long. Offers a viewpoint we often don't see enough of. For fans of Anxious People, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, and Under the Whispering Door,
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Sweet, but very predictable and formulaic. The dialogue from everybody felt very clunky and a bit unreal, which contributed to me feeling like I was reading this story from a distance rather than being more thoroughly drawn in to Albert's journey. It is a touching story about community of all kinds though and I'm sure many other readers will find it more moving and heartwarming than I did.
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This delightful and heartwarming story follows Albert, a lonely 64-year-old postman who makes some startling discoveries about himself. Though this is in part a story about a man coming out of the closet after over forty years and searching for his lost love, it’s also about coming out of your shell — about taking the brave step in opening yourself up to your neighbors and coworkers. This was a very relatable book for me as I am close in age to Albert and know only too well the hate and homophobia gay boys had to face in the 60s & 70s. It was also quite accurate from my recollection.

I enjoyed how the story was told via flashbacks to Albert’s youth, and we see the events that led him to his current situation:  his hateful homophobic father, his apathetic mother, the oppressive laws of the time, and, of course, George — the first and only boy Albert fell in love with. The story unfolds in bits and pieces, allowing us to slowly understand where Albert is coming from as all is finally revealed.

I loved how Albert began to shine once he attempted to get the know the people in his life and start to embrace his life in the process. I especially enjoyed his friendship with Nicole, a single mom going through some tough times. The author did an excellent job of juxtaposing Albert’s newfound happiness with the darkness and sadness of his past. It was s delight to see Albert bloom once he ceases feeling ashamed of who he is and embraces and accepts himself instead. His transformation warmed my heart as well as sent a tear or two to my eyes.

All in all, I love this impactful story. It was heartfelt, amusing at times, traumatic at others, but always compelling and touching. Albert’s character development and character arc were phenomenal. And though the story does tackle some tough themes, it ultimately will bring a smile to your face. At least it did mine.
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3.5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.

This book is ridiculously sweet. I smiled so much, laughed out loud, and even cried at times. 

Albert learning to love himself and let people in was such a beautiful journey to read. I know his story isn’t an uncommon one, which absolutely breaks my heart, and I was so glad he could get his happy ending in the end, as well as make some beautiful friends along the way.

My only real issue with this book was how long it took me to get into it. I only really started enjoying it around the 40% mark. Before that I was honestly just bored and considered not finishing it a few times. I was glad I persevered, but a good book shouldn’t bore me for almost half of the journey so that’s the reason this otherwise beautiful book is only getting 3.5 stars.
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