Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Book Review: Call of the Curlew

Call of the Curlew
By Elizabeth Brooks
Published by Doubleday
Available in hardback and ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

New Year's Eve 2015, and 86 year old Virginia feels like her time is up. She knows she will meet her end on the marsh.

Virginia finally be free of guilt she has carried with her through her life, still trapped in her childhood home, unable to make peace with the events of one winter. She is overcome with memories of the past.

Call of the Curlew is an immersive novel, told with a dual time line narrative, pulling the reader in the unsettling setting of Tollbury Marsh, exploring loss, guilt and the way an resolved past can scar you for a lifetime.

1939, Virginia, 11, arrives at a mysterious house, Salt Winds, on the edge of a vast marsh to meet her adopted parents. Life here is different from the orphanage - this couple want to be real parents to her, share their lives with her.

Shifting sands, whipped up winds, cast empty space, luring people into its clutches. The villagers fear the marsh as much as WWII. The war is far away, happening only in cities, and to other people's families but then the war comes to them. A German fighter plane crashes into the marsh one afternoon while Virginia is a Salt Winds with her adopted father. One the same day, her adopted father goes missing, and Salt Winds becomes less a sanctuary and more of a place caught up in secrets and lies.

Virginia is feisty, smart and courageous, with hints of a younger Jane Eyre. This whole novel feels like a homage to the Brontes, and Elizabeth Brooks describes herself as a "Bronte nerd". I loved reading Jane Eyre for my A-Levels - even reading it five times on a loop didn't put me off. A coming of age story where Virginia's life will be spent dealing with the aftermath.

Full of atmosphere, and an uneasy that will have you turning each page, wanting to discover the truth. Elizabeth Brooks pulls the reader in to the building tension, unravelling small details along the way. This is a haunting book and I loved it!

Call of the Curlew is available from your favourite bookshop.

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I was sent a copy to review for the Call of the Curlew blog tour. You can find other posts on the following blogs:

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