A book review by Gill Sherry

A book review by Gill Sherry
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It’s not often I agree with the raving reviews that accompany the release of a new novel. All too often I’m taken in by the glowing reports that promise an unforgettable read or an unexpected twist, only to be disappointed by the weak storyline or predictable plot. This particular book, however, delivers on all of its promises.

Where the Crawdads Sing is the debut novel by Delia Owens. It’s a New York Times Bestseller that has been featured on Reese Witherspoon’s dedicated Instagram site, @reesesbookclub. As a result, over one million hard copies have been sold and it reached number one on the Amazon Charts for Fiction. Having read the captivating tale based in the wilds of North Carolina, I can see why.

Never has a book touched me the way this one has. Never has a book resonated with me or left me almost speechless with awe.

It follows the reclusive life of Kya Clark who, after being abandoned by her family, struggles to fend for herself and find acceptance in a world of prejudice and spite. Mother Nature becomes her only friend, the lonely marshland in which she lives offering solace and protection throughout her childhood and into maturity.

Her solitary life is eventually disturbed by the local ‘golden boy’ who sets out to seduce the vulnerable Kya and for whose murder she is ultimately tried.

The story is credible, the characters convincing but it’s neither of those things that make this novel so powerful. The prose does that all by itself.

Owens’ writing is so beautiful and so unique it literally takes your breath away. Her rhythm is almost lyrical, the words almost poetic. She conjures striking imagery, teasing the senses with hypnotic descriptions, extraordinary similes and curious metaphors.

The reader is coaxed inside the wilderness, witnessing the changing seasons through Kya’s eyes. The native wildlife, the ever-changing footprint of the marshland and the precious treasure abandoned by nature – rare shells, colourful feathers – provide an alluring backdrop to this tantalising tale.

Having lived with Kya through hardship, independence and grief, you will admire her flawed character. As the underdog, you will root for her throughout her formidable journey and sympathise with her when mistreated or misjudged. You will also marvel at the author’s genius that is evident on every single page of this book.

Never has a gull been so vividly described, a firefly so gloriously portrayed or a hummingbird so masterfully illustrated. As one reviewer so eloquently put it, Owens doesn’t tell us what to think, but alludes to each message through writing so alive you can almost hear it breathing.

This is one book I could read again and again. It is simply beautiful, the prose so exquisite it will blow your mind. Bravo Delia Owens.

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