Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gillespie and I

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris 

I read this on my Kindle, and bought it after friends told me I'd love it. And I did. I've previously read the author's The Observations which I loved too.

Harriet Baxter, newly arrived in Glasgow in 1888, befriends the Gillespie family. Head of the family is Ned, a talented but as yet unrecognised artist. Harriet becomes friends with his wife and mother, and with their two little girls, wayward Sybil and sweet little Rose.

Tragedy strikes when Rose goes missing, apparently abducted.

Harriet is telling the story from nearly 50 years later, as an elderly woman living alone in London. She wants to set the record straight, and tell her side of the story.

But as you read on, you gradually realise there's definitely more than one side to this story, and is Harriet's really the truthful one? This is a delicious unreliable-narrator novel. I'm in awe of any author who can pull that off convincingly and Jane Harris has certainly done that here.

The characters are fully rounded, believable though not all of them likeable. The plot keeps you turning the pages, especially once you pass the half way mark. The language used is absolutely convincing for the period and yet it flows along brilliantly.

I loved this book and just wish I could write like that...

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