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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Review of Cloven by Sally Spedding.

Cloven is published by Macmillan.
355pps, 35chps plus prologue & epilogue, 2 maps, 138,000 words.
The account of the haunting of Ivan, a potter new to the area, by Sian, a disabled girl from Wales. The stories of Sian’s life and death, around 1830, and Ivan’s trials with local gangsters and the wife of the local doctor, in 2002, are intertwined. The characters live and the story is a page-turner, told in an intelligent but accessible style. Description of place, people and emotion is effective and evocative. The research on historical issues brings to life the poor Welsh girl and her life of hardship and suffering. Ivan is a sympathetic character with his faults, dreams and ambitions but an essentially good man. The character of Valerie, with whom he belatedly falls in love, is excellently drawn; good to have a heroine who isn’t all blonde curls, boobs and legs but a real woman with faults, fears and a kind heart.
This is a book more to be admired than enjoyed in many ways, yet I did enjoy it and was pleased with the ending, which was apt. A good story, well told and one I’d recommend.

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