Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Review.

About The Book

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 Review

Where The Crawdads Sing is described as a crime novel but I feel that the crime committed is only a small part of this novel. Instead it is tale of Kya’s relationship with nature as she goes from childhood into adulthood. And it shows she is also the victim of another type of crime. That of neglect and ignorance.

I struggle to understand why such a young child is left to fend for herself after all of her family abandon her. Her father is there for a little longer but doesn’t really do much to help. Instead she turns to her adoptive family Jumpin’ and Mabel who try their best to be there for her whilst also keeping their distance. It is her will and resolve to cope without her family that forms the basis for part one.

Initially I found it quite a slow book to read and at times I struggled to read it. Not because I didn’t like it, more that it was so different, very descriptive and at times I struggled with the local dialect. There were brief chapters that mentioned the investigation into the suspicious death but they didn’t really register. Instead I slowly became captivated by marsh life and Kya’s determination. Her friendship with Tate opened a new world to her and definitely made life a lot easier for her as she got older.

In part two the pace changes a lot and the investigation and subsequent trial takes over to some degree. You get to see more of the despicable behaviour of the more affluent and white townspeople. The attitude towards Kya and prejudice made me cringe. But there was also more evidence of those who had silently supported Kya in the background over the years.

This is a special novel, so different to everything else I have read and I expect it to be a long time before I read anything like it again. I’m sure the film will be just as wonderful.

Once Upon A Time There Was A Man by Peter Scholes – Review.

About The Book

Private investigating should be an exciting, interesting career, but for Paul Brunskill it was pretty mundane work. When a letter arrived seeking his expertise to help find a man it looked like more of the same. But this was no ordinary man.The job was to take him on a mission like none he had ever embarked on before…

My Review

This novel is totally different to any other that I have read before. It concerns a slightly disillusioned private investigator who takes on a life changing job that is different to the normal work that he does. Although many characters feature it is really only him and you meet everyone else through his diary where he reveals all of the conversations he has during his investigation. When he takes the job he thinks that it is a straightforward search for a man via his birth certificate but he is unprepared for how far it takes him and what he learns on his journey. And not just about Ernie and the people that he met but also himself and his own relationships, in particular with his mother. I loved seeing their relationship develop.

 Ernie had a busy life and a lot of impact on the ones he knew. The part of the story that had the biggest impact on me was the first one. I can’t really say why, because of spoilers, but this was the one that felt the most real. It was certainly the most heart wrenching. Another in particular made me smile and remember standing in a queue fascinated by the hatred shown by customs officials at JFK.

It isn’t often that I read a book with little idea of the synopsis but I did on this occasion and I’m so glad that I did. I’m not convinced that any could do this book justice.