Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long, but I have finally read Where the Crawdads Sing – so I am very pleased to bring you my review.

For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

I am more than a little late to the Where the Crawdads Sing party. My bestie loved this book, and insisted that we go and see the newly released film adaptation. Naturally I thought I should read the book first, which didn’t exactly go to plan.

So I really struggled when I first picked up this novel – after 10 days of reading, I went to see the movie having only finished Part One: The Marsh and I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to finish it. To say my friend was disappointed was an understatement. Add my inability to finish the book to the slew of negative movie reviews, we went to the cinema feeling a little dejected.

I am pleased to confirm however that you can confidently ignore the movie critics! I loved the film, it was an emotional watch, set against a stunning yet eerie backdrop. I cried, and I suddenly felt compelled to rush home and read Part 2: The Swamp! I was not disappointed – with a renewed enthusiasm I devoured the second half of this novel. Delia Owens descriptions of the swamp are hauntingly beautiful. The feeling of isolation flows from her words, pulling you into the marsh with Kya, the shunned marsh girl who against all odds survived the wilderness alone, with only nature for company. The characterisation is beautiful; as a mother my heart breaks for Kya as her childhood becomes increasingly isolated and lonely, and she has to grow up far too fast in order to survive.

A murder trial runs throughout this novel, but plays second fiddle to Kya’s story as she learns to survive and live in a wilderness that many much braver than she could not survive.

If you want a novel rich in atmosphere, haunting yet beautiful, with stunning characterisation, then this is the novel for you. If, like me, you had ignored the hype about this novel and just added the novel to your TBR pile – please pick it up and get reading. You won’t regret it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Review: The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

I am so pleased to bring you my review of The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen.

At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

How has it taken me this long to read this novel?!

Augusta Hope had always been different to other little girls – she has been devouring information ever since she can remember. Naturally that didn’t make her the most popular person at school, and she finds that she never truly fits in. Her beloved twin, Julia, couldn’t have been more different; sociable, lots of friends, a boyfriend – and an unwavering love for her sister Augusta.

When tragedy strikes her family, Augusta finds herself feeling more lost than ever. Her childhood fascination with the country of Burundi may just lead her to find her place in the world.

This is a dual story novel – Augusta Hope is of course our main character, but we also find ourselves following Parfait, a young man from Burundi who has to navigate a very different world to the one that Augusta finds herself in. This is a rich story of love, life, tragedy and overcoming adversity. Two wildly different stories interwoven together, it really draws you in. Neither Augusta or Parfait are characters that I can relate to in my every day life that but that doesn’t stop you wanting more for them both. I was utterly engrossed in this novel from start to finish – the characterisation is excellent, and the dual storyline means you really get to immerse yourself in two worlds that are so distant from one another yet so perfectly linked. My first thought when reading about Augusta was Eleanor Oliphant – I can definitely see a parallel between these two quirky, awkward characters. That’s where the comparison ends though, with this novel focusing on love, grief and really finding your own path in life.

I have no hesitation in recommending this novel – it is not a light, easy read but it is a novel that really seeks to immerse you in the story of these two rich characters. Let yourself be drawn into their stories, and let me know what you think!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.