The Debut Novel of Millie Bobby Brown: Nineteen Steps
Nineteen Steps marks the debut novel of Millie Bobby Brown, best known for her role in the hit TV show Stranger Things. As a curious reader, I decided to pick up this book without much knowledge of what it was about. I prefer delving into stories with little background information, as it tends to make the reading experience more enjoyable and surprising. However, I do understand the value of knowing certain details about a book before diving in. So, allow me to introduce you to the world of Nineteen Steps.
Nineteen Steps Takes Place During World War II
Falling into the genre of historical fiction, Nineteen Steps is set during World War II, specifically starting in 1942. The events unfold over several years, offering a realistic portrayal of the war from a civilian perspective. The main protagonist, Nellie Morris, and her community in London depict the experiences of those not directly involved in combat. While the characters may not be shown on the battlefield, their lives are significantly impacted and suspended due to the war. This provides a refreshing and interesting viewpoint, considering most war novels and movies focus on soldiers.
Inspired by Millie Bobby Brown’s Grandmother’s Life and Experience
Nineteen Steps is inspired by the life and experiences of Millie Bobby Brown’s own grandmother. In the opening dedication, Brown mentions her grandmother, Nanny Ruth, who played a significant role in shaping the story. Brown’s grandmother shared stories of her life during World War II, which Brown then fictionalized for this novel. The book specifically centers around the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943, an event that Brown’s grandmother personally survived. The tragedy claimed the lives of 173 people, including 62 children, and left 60 injured. The title of the book, Nineteen Steps, refers to the number of steps needed to enter the tube station used as an air raid shelter during the incident.
A Love Triangle Amidst Tragedy
The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster plays a significant role in the second half of Nineteen Steps. However, the first half focuses on establishing the life of the protagonist, Nellie. Part of her story involves a love triangle between an American US airman named Ray and her childhood best friend Billy. While Billy has always been in love with Nellie, he never confessed his feelings. The entry of Ray into the picture captivates Nellie, leading to a choice she must make between the two men. The romance between Nellie and Ray keeps readers guessing, unsure of whether their story will lead to a friends-to-lovers tale or a happily ever after.
The Significance of Family and Friends
Nineteen Steps emphasizes the critical role of family and friends within the narrative. Brown’s grandmother’s stories contained both tragedy and moments of light, highlighting themes of love, friendship, and community. The characters’ identities are shaped by their relationships with their loved ones, and the losses they experience carry substantial weight. Additionally, the community plays a crucial role in seeking answers regarding the tragic events depicted in the book. The family and community aspects contribute to the foundation and sentimentality of the story, making them some of the most memorable moments within the novel.
Controversy Surrounding the Ghostwriter
Millie Bobby Brown collaborated with Kathleen McGurl to write Nineteen Steps. While Brown acknowledged her ghostwriter on her Instagram and in the book’s UK edition, some backlash ensued. It is not uncommon for celebrities to use ghostwriters, although they are not always as transparent about it as Brown. Many famous names lend their brand to sell books, while the actual writing is done by someone else. It is commendable that Brown publicly thanked her ghostwriter, as it gives more exposure to McGurl’s work under her own name. The controversy arises from concerns about misleading readers. However, what ultimately matters is that this story exists due to Brown’s connection with her grandmother.
Appeals to Fans of Historical Romances
Nineteen Steps may particularly appeal to fans of historical romances. While it may not reach the status of an epic love story, it delivers an enjoyable romance drama. The book’s setting and time period heighten the sense of urgency and importance felt throughout the narrative. As someone who doesn’t typically read historical fiction, this book piqued my interest and left me wanting to explore more works in the genre.
A Quick and Engaging Read
If you’re hesitant about committing a significant amount of time to reading Nineteen Steps, fear not. It is a relatively quick read that can be completed in a couple of hours over a couple of days. Additionally, for those who prefer audiobooks, Millie Bobby Brown lends her voice to the audiobook version, offering a unique opportunity to hear the author bring her characters to life. Looking ahead, Brown has exciting projects lined up, including two movies. Let’s hope her future endeavors include another book, as I thoroughly enjoyed Nineteen Steps and would eagerly read her next creation.