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Possibly one of the best Victorian tales I've read in a long time.,
This review is from: The Quietness (Paperback)
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One of the best ways to judge how much you enjoy a book is the length of time it took you to finish reading it. Took no more than a few hours for me to read The Quietness and that's praise indeed. What a fabulous story. How dark and Gothic. Set in Victorian times (London 1870) and charting the lives of two different girls. Ellen (16) the daughter of a wealthy but eccentirc surgeon, and Queenie (15) living in poverty and squalor. Both of the girls dream of lives very different to the ones they live and little do they realise how one day their lives will entwine and change forever.
Cleverly written. The chapters alternate between the girls as they tell their story. That could have been disastorous if one character had been weaker than the other. They're not; Alison Rattle has produced two credible, believable characters in Ellen and Queenie and I had no trouble bonding with them. They're such wonderfully diverse people.
As the plot moves along it becomes apparent both girls are unhappy but, as we travel deeper into the story, they seem to have much more in common than anyone would have believed. As their worlds move closer fate takes an unexpected turn and brings them together with dramatic consequences. I'm not giving away anymore of the plot.
There are storylines in The Quietness concerning pregnancy and childbirth which younger children might find difficult to deal with as they're dark, brutal and written with a great deal of realism but; it's that sense of historical correctness that I loved the most about the book. Alison Rattle has captured the feeling of the era. You get a real sense of the filth, poverty and disease on the streets which she runs perfectly as a contrast against the velvet curtained, beautiful homes of the wealthy.
The Quietness is a story about women and although it's packed with darkness there's also a tremendous feeling of hope and friendship. Perfect for any age group over 14 years old and certainly not just for children. Can't recommend this book highly enough.