Wednesday 3 March 2021

Review | The Kindness Project by Sam Binnie

Published by Headline on March 4, 2021

The Kindness Project is a book that had me enticed simply by a quick read of the blurb. I love stories of kindness and I believe there is always time to be kind in life. The sound of the project set by Bea for her daughter had me intrigued and I was eager to read all about it. I loved the sound of The Kindness Project straight away and the book itself lived up to all my expectations and more. I could not stop reading.

We meet Alice as she is on her way to Polperran, a place she clearly would not be visiting under any other circumstances. Having just learnt about the death of her mum, Bea, Alice takes all her ill feelings with her to the picturesque Cornish village to tie up the loose ends at her mother’s home. In truth, it’s the last place Alice wants to be and it was evident from the start that she and Bea did not have a good relationship. Alice seems a bit bitter about things that have happened between them and instead of outwardly grieving after the death of her mum, she’s ready to hear her will and get her home emptied and then go back to her day-to-day life in Cambridge.

I found the exploration of the relationship-gone-wrong between Bea and Alice really fascinating. Bea may already be dead once the book begins but Sam Binnie truly brings her character to life through the letters Bea has written, through Alice’s memories and through the stories told by Bea’s friends and acquaintances in Polperran. It’s clear that Alice felt abandoned by her mum when she was a child, but it’s also clear that Alice doesn’t know quite so much about Bea in the years before she died. It was refreshing to learn, along with Alice, some things she wasn’t aware of about her mum as it gave more of a roundness to Bea’s character rather than the wholly negative views Alice has.

I generally love reading books that explore the relationship between mother and daughter. I had the best relationship with my mum, yet others are more complex and discovering the ins and outs of family connections always has me intrigued. One thing for certain was that Bea had had a big impact on the community within the Cornish town she lived in. A place where everybody knows everybody’s business, Bea had never been content with just knowing - she liked to get involved. This is something that doesn’t escape Alice as amongst her possessions in her will, Bea leaves her daughter a series of envelopes, containing The Kindness Project – a set of missions to undergo to help out the residents of Polperran.

I loved the sound of the project and I loved reading each letter Bea sent to Alice. In each letter, she opens up more and more and in turn, maybe it helped Alice open up a bit more too. The development in Alice’s character helped me warm to her a lot during the course of this book. When we meet her, she is a bit disinterested in anything Cornwall has to offer her. She likes to keep conversations short and avoids eye contact. Small talk is the enemy. But the more time she spends there, the more vocal she gets and the more similarities between her and Bea are on show – and I loved seeing her character grow.

One thing I adored about this book was that everybody had a story to tell. The characters had pure life to them and each of them kept me engrossed.

The power of kindness shone through the pages of this book. If all it takes is a moment to say good morning or a little helping hand for someone who knows what they want but doesn’t quite know how to get there, then why on earth not? Kindness is infectious, and Sam Binnie reinforces that throughout this lovely, touching, compelling novel. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.

Preorder The Kindness Project here:


  1. My library hasn't ordered this yet - looks like a goodie. Cheers from carole's Chatter


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