Deep and haunting
When Ash and his mother Lily move in with her new boyfriend Jude, it is a new start. Lily hopes fervently that this second chance will heal the wounds in her son’s heart and mind. She’s counting on leaving behind the ghosts of the past and starting afresh. But Jude has a few secrets of his own. Can Ash overcome his haunted past without falling into Jude’s?
I have come across many wonderful books and authors in my time between the pages – and I admit to spending quite a lot of time there. I’ve enjoyed some stories, been unable to finish some and raved about a select few. But there are only a handful of authors I would consider ‘great writers’ and Gemma Farrow has managed to get herself onto my ‘wow’ list.
There is something so poignant and real about her writing style, that it makes you want to slow the book down and savor each word. Ms Farrow has a knack for packing maximum meaning and emotion into a small amount of words. This, I discovered when reading her first published novelette ‘Beneath the willows’ and she has expertly carried this skill over to this, her first full length novel. Each sentence, regardless of how short, has some kind of deeper meaning beyond the words themselves – or more likely, because of the words she has chosen to use.
The characters Ms Farrow has created are so wonderfully ‘wrong’. They bring to mind the intensity of a black and white movie with their deep, dark passions and outwardly dull lives. Ms Farrow’s portrayal of the cultural aspects of Ash’s environment adds flavor to the mix. The picture of that opening scene with the frying pan of chicken feet is one that will stick with me for a long time. The combination of natural dialogue, captured accents, stark descriptions and underlying symbolism resonate with the reader.
Themes of mental health, reality, familial dynamics, acceptance, depression and spiritual beliefs, amongst others, are littered throughout the story. This is one of those novels that leave you quiet and thoughtful when you’re done.
Gemma Farrow is one author you need to put on your ‘preorder anything she writes’ list. You’ll never be disappointed.