Elemental – Amanda Curtin

Elemental - Amanda Curtin

Elemental – Amanda Curtin

This was recommended by a member of my Victorian book study group – their recommendations are always good.

Here is the blurb …

Nearing the end of her life, Meggie Tulloch takes up her pen to write a story for her granddaughter, Laura. It begins in the first years of the twentieth century, in a place where howling winds spin salt and sleet sucked up from ice floes. A place where lives are ruled by men, and men by the witchy sea. A place where the only thing lower than a girl in the order of things is a clever girl with accursed red hair. A place schooled in keeping secrets. Thirty years after her grandmother’s death, Laura receives her notebooks and discovers the painful past that Meggie spent a lifetime trying to forget. Moving from the north-east of Scotland to the Shetland Isles to Fremantle, Australia, Elemental is a novel about the life you make from the life you are given.

I really enjoyed the sections written from Meggie’s point of view (about the first two thirds of the novel). Her voice was compelling. Her life was described in rich detail – the painful salty holes, the cold, the wind, the smell of fish guts, her awful grand father, the smell of biscuits baking. It was all wonderfully evocative. I didn’t find the last section, narrated by Laura and Avril, to be as effective. It might be because I liked Meggie’s voice so much I didn’t want it to end.

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