Mrs Bradshaw’s Handbook isn’t a typical novel. In fact, it isn’t a novel at all. Instead, it is a companion book to Terry Pratchett’s extremely rich Discworld universe.
Mrs Bradshaw’s Handbook was originally mentioned in Terry Pratchett’s novel, Raising Steam. For the uninitiated, Raising Steam is the book about the invention of the railroad on the Discworld. Mrs Bradshaw is a widowed lady of means who is smitten by rail travel who endeavours to write a traveler’s book for all who wish to follow in her footsteps.
That little bit of background out of the way, let me say, if you are not familiar with the Discworld, do NOT pick up this book. In fact, even if you are a fan of the Discworld but haven’t yet read Raising Steam, you too should avoid this book.
The book really has no plot to speak of. It is, as I mentioned early, a companion book. If you have enjoyed Raising Steam you find it a fun read that provides additional colour to that novel and the Discworld in general.
I enjoyed the book for the previously mentioned colour. It is by no means a challenging read and serves only to enhance what has already been written (much like Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook, for example). It reads like a travel log and contains amusing posters and advertisements as well as descriptions of the various places the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygenic Railroad visit.
So, how would I rate it?
That isn’t an easily answered question because, as I have already stated, it is not a novel. Let me just say, for those who enjoyed Raising Steam, I would give it a solid 3 – 3.5 stars out of 5. Anyone else? Simply put, avoid the book.