Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the stunning novel by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing. I only discovered this book just before Christmas and I can’t believe it’s only now that I’ve come across it.

BLURB

For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

MY THOUGHTS

I finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t expecting to be pulled as deeply into the novel as I was, it took me totally by surprise. I was captivated by the story of ‘The Marsh Girl,’ and I loved Delia Owen’s writing, which transports you to the marshland’s atmospheric setting.

Kya is one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in a long while. She lives with her family on the outskirts of the nearby town, surrounded by marshland. From a young age, things are tough for Kya. Unable to live with her father any more, her mother abandons her and the rest of the family when Kya is very small. Soon her older siblings follow their mothers lead, leaving Kya alone with her abusive father. But Kya knows her father well, and she manages to co-exist with him over the next few years, until the day when he doesn’t come back.

I felt so frustrated for Kya. I couldn’t understand why the rest of her family had abandoned her, particularly her siblings, who could have taken her with them. It seemed so unfair that she was the one left behind at such a young age. Because of this, Kya has to grow up first. She has to provide for herself after her father abandons her as well. Kya also becomes the topic of a lot of gossip among the locals. That’s how she earns the nickname, ‘The Marsh Girl.’

This novel isn’t a fast-paced read. When I was reading it, I decided I wanted to take my time with it as I was enjoying the writing so much. We flick backwards and forwards from the late fifties and early sixties to 1969. In 1969 the body of a young man has been found. But we get to learn more about the background of this man in the scenes from earlier years. What is his connection to Kya? I also wanted to know why he had ended up dead? The police are treating his death as a murder, although some believe it was a tragic accident. But the police want to wrap the case up quickly.

There were moments towards the end of this book where I was literally holding my breath as I waited to find out what was going to happen next. Kya was the one character who I rooted for throughout the book. I wanted her to succeed in life and to find someone to spend her life with.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a masterpiece, it’s haunting, and it is beautifully written. It is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long while. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time to come. I highly, highly recommend it!  

Publisher: Corsair

Publication date: 8th November 2018

Print length: 379 pages

Where the Crawdads Sing is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Silence by Susan Allott #bookreview #blogtour @SusanAllott @BoroughPress @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the stunning debut novel by Susan Allott, The Silence as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father, Joe, phoning from Sydney.

30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared. Joe claims he thought she had gone to start a new life; but now Mandy’s family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla’s father was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and he’s under suspicion of murder.

Back home in Sydney, Isla’s search for the truth takes her back to 1967, when two couples lived side by side on a quiet street by the sea. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia’s colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence?

MY THOUGHTS

The Silence by Susan Allott is a heart-breaking and an enlightening read. Susan Allott explores a part of Australian history in her debut novel, which I’m ashamed to say, I never even knew about. It made me wonder why this part of history isn’t taught in schools or more widely known. What Susan Allott describes in her book is truly horrific, and it compelled me to find out more about what happened. This is what made reading the author notes at the end of the book, all the more interesting.

The novel is set in 1997. We meet Isla, who is at home in London when she receives a call from her dad early in the morning. The call is an alarming one. The police are investigating her dad on being involved in the disappearance of one of their neighbours thirty years earlier. The woman, Mandy, used to look after Isla when she was a child growing up in Australia in the late sixties. But her dad was the last person to see Mandy alive. Isla must return home to Australia and confront the awful truth that her father may not be the man who she thought she knew.

Susan’s writing really drew me into this tale. There’s a dark sense of foreboding right from the beginning, and I felt that nothing was as it seems. After Isla travels back to Australia to be with her family, Susan then takes us back to 1967. The events that take place in these chapters lead up to Mandy’s disappearance and the uncomfortable truth. It is in this part of the novel that Susan explores what happened to children of Aboriginal families during this period. This took place between 1910 and 1970. One of the characters, Steve, is a police officer, and he is charged with removing children from Aboriginal families. One young boy Steve takes a particular shine to, and he promises the boy’s mother that he will look after him and give him a good life.

Susan Allott weaves a cleverly constructed tale around these events. I could feel Steve’s longing to have a child of his own, particularly when Mandy, his wife, doesn’t appear keen to have children. I could understand why he wanted to raise the child he took as his own, but his decision that day was certainly not fraught with risk.

Isla puts herself close to danger as she fights to find the real truth behind Mandy’s disappearance and my eyes were kept glued to the pages as the Susan revealed what really happened.

The Silence is a compelling and powerful read. Susan Allott is a writer to watch.

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 6th August 2020

Print length: 368 pages

The Silence is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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