3 Mini Reviews: Genuine Fraud, The Loney, Ruby.

I’ve read three different books this week but have been too busy unpacking my new house and buying new stuff for it to sit down and review any of them – it’s only thanks to readathons that I’ve managed to read anything at all.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

I read We Were Lairs by this author a few years ago and flew through the book although I didn’t feel that it quite lived up to the hype – some how she never quite created the atmosphere she was trying to evoke, in my opinion. However, I saw this on NetGalley and was excited to try something new from this author.

Genuine Fraud focuses around the friendship between two girls, and it becomes apparent very early on that our narrator, Jules, is obsessed with Imogen and that something has gone very wrong with their friendship. The narrative works backwards until the truth, and all of Jules’ lies, are revealed.

In the first few chapters I thought this seemed like an adventure/James Bond style novel and I was concerned that this wouldn’t be the book for me, however this quickly changes when the narrative starts going back in time and we begin ti get an inkling of why Jules is on the run. The pace is fast and you are constantly reevaluating Jules and everything she tells you – in the intro the author says that she was heavily influenced by Dickens’ Great Expectations, you can clearly see the unreliable narrator trope in this novel.

Whilst I enjoyed the fast paced story-line the narrative structure really bought this book to life for me. I hadn’t realised that the author had released another book last summer but I’ll definitely be looking out for it.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
This was my least favourite of these three reads and the one which I was sure I was going to love the most. Ruby is a novel set in a 1980s small back water town. Ephram our main character has lived a quiet life ruled over by his sister who still treats him like a child. He has always gripped on to the memory of meeting the beautiful Ruby Bell as a child. She returns back to their town 30 years later a completely different woman, abused and mentally scared by all she has seen and experienced.

Now, I’ve read plenty of novels which deal with abuse but at one point this book felt like it was one abusive story after the other. I’m not sure if the amount of abuse, or how quickly each incident was dealt with and moved on, but I lacked feeling for Ruby. I also struggled to connect with Ephram, he never felt like a complete character to me. Having looked at reviews of this book I can see that people loved it or had a similar issue to me. I’d be interested to know how other people felt about it?

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

I bought this book last year when it seemed to be just about everywhere but kept seeing negative reviews of it so I was put off reading it, when I moved this ended up top of the one bag of books I had access to and it fit perfectly with the #autumnreadathon category for a gothic book.

Set in an isolated Welsh seaside town, in an isolated, rundown house where a group of church parishioners voyage up to a local holy site in the hope of curing one of the children who is a mute and has learning difficulties, this ticked off a lot of gothic themes. The story is told by an adult narrator recalling his childhood (also very Great Expectations-

esque), as the brother of the mute Hanny who we know from page one is now a very successful Priest.

In this novel their is a lot going on: the desire to ‘save’ Hanny, the boy’s useless parents who are only interested in religion, the gothic house and location, the mysterious death of the last priest and the arrival of the new one, battles for which women can seem the most holy and mysterious goings on in the village. This book has all the right ingredients, but I felt a little too many of them, to create an atmospheric text. I wouldn’t say I ever felt lost in the plot, but certainly a little muddled. This was the author’s first novel after previously publishing short stories, I would be interested to go and read his short story collections as he can clearly write but seemed to take on a lot here. Also, his new novel Devil’s Day has just been released in the UK I’d be interested to see if he ironed out any of his plot line issues in this new book.

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