Tuesday, 1 October 2019

BOOK REVIEW - The Underground Railroad by Corson Whitehead

Hey lovelies, welcome back!

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize and a previous Waterstones Book of the Month from my time there, The Underground Railroad by Colston Whitehead has been on the TBR list for a while. So, naturally, when I saw it on the reading list for my foundation year at Plymouth University, I couldn't wait to finally pick this up. It did not disappoint!

Set in 18th century America, the famous Underground Railway, a network of people aiding escaped slaves, takes on a physical form in this dystopian novel as we follow Cora, a young slave on a Georgian plantation, in her quest for freedom.

From the opening chapter that details Ajarry, Cora’s Grandmother’s, transportation there is a gritty vibe to this book. Whitehead doesn't shy away from the brutality, instead he uses that to create a true and honest plot that makes for a stimulating read.

The fast pace of the novel adds to the suspense and authenticates the plot.  

The alternate chapters, that map Cora's journey North, also give an insight into how the Underground Railroad affected a wide scope of people during the 18th century. Whitehead writes from the perspective of Ajarry, Ridgeway, the slave catcher, Ethel, a member of the Underground Railroad network, Caesar, a fellow slave and even the infamous Mabel, 'the one that got away' and Cora's mother. Not only does this act as a metaphor for the real underground Railroad but creates a bigger picture of 18th Century America and produces a richer reading experience.

While The Underground Railroad is not my typical genre it is one of my favourite reads this year. This became a pleasure read rather than an academic one and I found it much easier to analyse as a result. I’ll be tackling my first year reads with the same enthusiasm.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

BOOK REVIEW - The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

* I was sent an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you HQ for this opportunity.*

Hey lovelies, welcome back!

Overlooking St Austell bay is Boskenna. With it’s white-washed walls, flourishing gardens and breath-taking views it is a picturesque image of Cornwall. But inside there are secrets long hidden. As Joan, Diana and Lottie reunite there one last time those secrets are bursting to be discovered and could change their lives forever. 
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Liz for a while now and within the first few pages my heart filled with pride as I thought “my friend wrote this”. That alone would have been reason enough to carry on reading, but the effortless writing, dynamic characters and captivating plot made this book un-put-downable. 
Written from the perspective of three women, a mother, daughter and granddaughter, The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick is a beautiful summer story that tells the tale of a family still reeling from the events of one fateful summers evening fifty-six years ago. Consisting of alternate flashback chapters nestled between present day we see the incident form from both angels which makes for an enthralling read.
As someone who’s visited Cornwall many times, and currently lives on the wrong side of the bridge, the setting was easy to visualise and made the plot all the more enchanting. Her variant weather conditions in the novel rang true and made it clear Liz is accustomed to the county. Anyone who’s visited Cornwall will know how irregular the forecast is!  
With the sun shining one day and torrential rain the next, I felt like I was holidaying in Cornwall while reading this, making it the perfect summer read. The beautiful writing and unexpected plot twists reignited a love for the duchy I didn’t realise I had lost.