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Review: The Unseeing

The Unseeing

Author: Anna Mazzola

Publisher: Tinder Press

Published: 14th July 2016

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Tinder Press and Bookbridgr

Date read: 11th November 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola’s THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.

‘A twisting tale of family secrets and unacknowledged desires. Intricately plotted and extremely convincing in its evocation of the everyday realities of 1830s London, this is a fine first novel’ – The Sunday Times

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

My thoughts:

Firstly I would like to thank Tinder Press and Bookbridgr for sending me a copy of this book to review.

I am a lover of Historical fiction especially Victorian London so when I read the synopsis of ‘The Unseeing’ I knew I had to read it. This is Anna Mazzola’s debut novel and I can tell you it certainly delivered.

The year is 1837 and Sarah Gale is sentenced to be hung, she is believed to have aid and abet James Greenacre in the death of Hannah Brown. Sarah Gale was having an on/off relationship with Greenacre and living with him in his home until he met Hannah. Hannah Brown was a spinster with a bit of money and business’s in her possession,until her body parts were found randomly around London.Greenacre a conniving man that he is only wanted Hannah for her money and threw Sarah out a few days before Christmas. A few days after Christmas Hannah Brown is gone and Sarah Gale is back in Greenacre’s bed. Sarah is adamant that she knows nothing about the disappearance or death of Hannah Brown, but no-one believes her.

Sarah Gale and a Women’s institute have requested Sarah to be pardoned as she is to be hung but is adamant she knows nothing. Edmund Fleetwood has been assigned the case, his job is to see if she will talk or if there is any new evidence. This is one of the most spoken about cases of the time and this could be the career break that Edmund needs, however Sarah Gale is still adamant that she knows nothing. Can this meek, pale women really be involved in a murder?

This book was amazing, I felt like I had been transported to London in 1837. The writing was so atmospheric, the descriptions of the sounds, the streets and the way the characters spoke just blew me away, and it was consistent throughout the book. The Unseeing is a slow burn book that drip feeds you information slowly and you start piecing it together like a jigsaw puzzle. I was definitely hooked and needed to know how Hannah had come to be in pieces around London and what was going to happen to Sarah. There is a twist and I didn’t see it coming whatsoever and was left shocked for some time.

This book is based on a true crime that happened in 1837 and is known as the Edgeware Murder. Sarah Gale and John Greenacre are the names of the actual people involved and the court scripts can be seen at the Old Bailey website.  You can definitely tell that the Mazzola had knowledge of the justice system as it was very well researched. I loved that Mazzola managed to make a fictional book out of a true crime and it makes it even more intriguing to read. It does make you think of how the justice system failed a lot of people back in Victorian times.

I will definitely be reading anything else Anna Mazzola release and recommend this book you are interested true crime and historical fiction.

I rated this 4 out of 5 stars

About Anna Mazzola

Anna Mazzola

Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before becoming a criminal justice solicitor. She lives in Camberwell, London, with two small children, two cats and one husband.

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Me before you by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Author: Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Penguin/Michael Joseph

Published:5th January 2012

Genre: Romance, contemporary, Women’s Literature

Source: Owned

Date read: 13th May 2016

 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

 

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

 

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My thoughts:

This book has all the feels and is just all round fantastic, in my eyes this book was faultless!

Lou Clark has recently just lost her job and is in desperate need to find an alternative to be able to pay rent and help support her sister, nephew and grandfather. Lou hasn’t got many skills listed on her CV after working at the ‘Buttered Bun’ so it’s difficult to find a job in the small village with decent pay. When her job seeker advises her a position has just come up for a carer/assistant for a paraplegic, Lou is hesitant, she hasn’t the faintest idea if she could do this job and concerned about having to help people to the toilet. Incredibly Lou manages to get the job, and is introduced to Will Traynor. Will is paralysed from the waist down with limited use of his hands and Lou’s job is to help him eat, drink and to just keep him company. With Will grieving for the life he used to have and Lou being a happy-go-lucky sort of gal, they begin to change each others lives in ways they did not expect.

I will start off with the characters, they were great, equally complex and just all round enjoyable to read about. Lou was just brilliant with her quirky dress code and very British humour. She made me laugh quite a lot during this book especially when she felt awkward and would say stupid things.  I loved Will, yeah he was brooding and foreboding but who wouldn’t be if they were put in that situation. Will was very humourous, he was very witty and sarcastic and matched Lou, between them they had some amazing banter that just made me smile throughout this book. The one character who I didn’t particularly like was Patrick, Patrick is Lou’s boyfriend, they have been together for years and it seems they have settled into a somewhat comfortable relationship, maybe too comfortable. Patrick is obsessed with doing a triathlon/marathon, he is constantly training, Lou is always working so they don’t see much each other but what makes him unlikable is his jealousy and that he takes Lou for granted.

This book has one of the best family dynamics I have ever read and I really really loved it. Lou lives with her mum, Dad,Sister, Nephew and Grandad. The interactions between them all were so realistic and relatable and the reasons for them living the way they were is how a lot of families live nowadays. I will keep saying this but everything about the family was so British and I loved it.It made me feel proud to be British….. I dunno why but it just did.

The book is told mainly from Lou’s perspective, however you do get a chapter or two from alternative POV’s such as Camilla (Will’s mother) and I really appreciated it, however I enjoyed Lou so much that I didn’t want the other perspective. If Jojo hadn’t of done this I would probably be writing how much I would have liked an alternative POV. (Sometimes you just can’t win).

Jojo Moyes certainly opened my eyes to how people with spinal cord injuries live and how inadequate they must feel, especially as Will had such a fulfilling job and enjoyed life to the full before his accident.

The book is packed full of emotions, you had the whole awkwardness, the sarcasm and laughs. Banter between the characters and also there were sad moments and I never NEVER! cry at books. But Jojo Moyes broke me and she did the impossible…. she made me cry!  It’s all down to her fantastic storytelling, character development and great writing. The book is quite big (pagewise) but due to Moyes writing style it’s a really fun, quick and easy read.

The Movie! Will I be seeing it? I am not sure! I don’t want it to be really crap and let me down. I watched the trailer and I am just not sure about the cast! When I look at Lou I will always be thinking Daenerys and I pictured Will being more attractive…..more like Patrick Dempsey (even though he is probably too old for the role) The other question that needs to be answered is, Will I be reading the sequel ‘After you’? Again I don’t know! I have heard that it’s not as good and also I don’t want anything to spoil my view of this book. Let me know if any of you have read after you and if it’s worth it. I will be looking into Jojo Moyes other books. I would give this book all the stars in the world I absolutely loved it.

I recommend this to anyone.

Overall I rated this 5 out of 5 stars