After reading several disappointing books – hugely popular bestsellers that, for me, didn’t live up to their hype – I tried a different tactic.
In pre-Covid times, I would have browsed a bookshop to find something new and genuinely exciting. But bookshops are thin on the ground in my small home town. (There are none.)
So, instead, I thought about what I wanted to read – well-written historical fiction – and browsed reader reviews and blogs for suggestions.
Many I had already read – but one that I hadn’t was mentioned often. Inspired, I sent away for “One For The Blackbird, One For The Crow” by Olivia Hawker.
And I am so glad I did, because this has turned out to be one of my stand-out reads of 2021.
It’s a big, satisfying chunk of a book, coming in at almost 500 pages. For me, that’s a bonus, but I know not everyone feels the same way (including some of my Book Club friends!)
It tells the story of two families, pioneers of the American frontier, and is set in Wyoming in 1876.
When catastrophe robs both families of the men they rely on for their survival, the women and children must overcome their differences and work together. But the growing attraction between young Beulah and Clyde tests already fraught relationships to their limit . . .
It’s a compelling page-turner of a story, both hard-hitting and beautifully lyrical. The poetic quality of the writing in this novel is mesmerising and I couldn’t put it down.
When you discover that it’s based on stories from the author’s own family history it gains even more resonance.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.