4 out of 4 stars
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I categorise a good book by how reluctant I am to put it down. Eliza´s Song by Sandra Powell definitely falls into this category.
Classified as other fiction, the story follows Cass, lead singer of the famous rock band, Demon. He has fame, fortune, band members who feel like family and, underneath it all, a good heart. When he loses everything in a heartbeat, his whole world comes crashing down.
Forced to move back to his home town, he finds an unexpected friend and confidant in his sister´s friend, Kate. To find purpose again Cass, with the help of Kate, looks into the restoration of an old, run down manor house in the village. However, the local rumors that the house is haunted have merit as Cass and Kate, as well as their families, find an unexpected presence in the house. Drawn into a mystery from the 1860s surrounding Eliza, a serving girl who lived in the house, will they ever be able to work out what happened all those years ago and put her to rest?
Brilliantly written in third person, the story focuses mainly around Cass and Kate. Cass is used to living the high life of unlimited alcohol, women and fame, whereas Kate, a widow, is busy helping out around the community and struggling to keep her teenage son, Tyler, in line. They are from completely different ways of life, yet find a common bond that draws them together. Each character in the book is well constructed and has an underlying realism that gives a wonderful depth to the story. They vary from the crotchety, elderly Major who tries to run the village, sullen Tyler who’s full of teenage angst, to Karen, Cass´s exuberant and loving sister. Together they form a rich tapestry of village life.
Set in Wales, the country itself lends an eerie beauty to the story, conjuring up images of rolling hills and windswept beaches. It’s all too easy to imagine not only Cass and Kate´s life there, but Eliza´s as well.
While the supernatural is dealt with here, it’s never hugely unbelievable. The structure of the story is such that there are some chapters scattered throughout the book which are set in the 1860s and follow Eliza´s story. This provides a great historical insight and gives the supernatural aspect some believability. It also shows a nice contrast from past to modern life.
There are some very serious topics dealt with in this book such as murder, rape, loss, adoption, depression and suicide. Even though the list seems overwhelming, these issues are confronted with tact and compassion which is yet another indication of this author´s talent.
I found very little to criticise with this book, it was well edited with no grammatical mistakes and I rate it a much deserved 4 out of 4 stars. It was a well-structured and highly enjoyable read. This book has something for everyone as it covers the supernatural, overcoming hardship, historical aspects, murder, mystery and romance. I look forward to reading more from Sandra Powell.
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