Thanks so much to the publisher Bluemoose Books for my proof copy of East Coast Road to read and review. I’m wanting to read more books set in East Anglia and along the east coast and this one definitely fitted the bill.
East Coast Road is published November 26th.
As university term gives way to the summer break Jen is plagued by dark memories and the only person there for her is her cousin – a cousin that no one else can see – together they embark on a journey that changes Jen and her world forever. ‘Haunting, shape-shifting and tense, ‘East Coast Road’ takes the reader on a thrilling quest which challenges our preconceptions. Chilvers is a master storyteller and she guides us through the complexities of devotion, faith, tenderness, grief and desire, all set against the rugged coastal edges of north east England.’ – HELEN MORT
I’ve been looking for more books to read which are set on the east coast of England, so when I saw Bluemoose Books posting about this forthcoming release, it sounded just the kind of read I was looking for. I guess the clue was in the title!
I’d not read any of this author’s work before so didn’t know what to expect in writing style or story line, however the synopsis sounding intriguing, so I was looking forward to giving it a try.
Well, I’m so glad I did! What an interesting and absorbing read. Different to anything I’ve read recently this was a marvellous mix of different elements from the supernatural ,to historical influences, to physiological drama. Full of subtle but oh so effective descriptive narrative and a storyline that had me questioning, at times, what on earth was going on! (in a good way). I really felt I was on a truly unpredictable quest up and down the east coast.
We meet young Jen who is from Ely in Cambridgeshire and studying at York University. She has parents back in Ely, a brother called Danny, plus her friend Rebecca and a new boyfriend Finn at uni. She loves to read and wonderfully intertwined into the narratives are books/stories that Jen has read or reading now.
Jen likes to visit the Cathedrals and churches at both Ely and York and early on in the book we hear of her visiting the statue of St Etheldreda. In 657AD St. Etheldreda, a princess of Anglia and Queen of Northumbria, fled from St Abbs in Scotland to Ely Catherdral in Cambridgeshire, a journey of around 500 miles. In 2015, funded by the Arts Council, the author followed in her footsteps and walked the same distance in five stages, as research for East Coast Road, and it is this story that the author wonderfully blends into the storyline.
Jen comes across as a slightly delicate individual at the beginning of the book and there is a sense that something bad has occurred in her recent past. It is through the people she meets during the summer vacation and the journey she takes, that we learn more about her and her family. The countryside and coast from Scotland, all the way down to Ely, are wonderfully evoked as to are the brilliant cast of characters that we meet along the way. It’s a slightly difficult novel to review, not only because it’s mix of genre, but also because this book plays wonderful ‘tricks’ with the reader and to know more of the plot would destroy this for anyone yet to have read it.
For me the novel had a wonderful dream like and atmospheric feel to it. Characters from past and present mingle together in what turns out to be a really powerful and emotive read written in a very original way.
To read about the authors walk check out her blog over at http://www.annachilvers.co.uk/category/east-coast-story-blog/