Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Story Collector - Evie Gaughan

Blurbed as ‘A beautiful and mysterious historical romance…’  it does sum up this captivating little tale perfectly. Told in a dual narrative format between the past and the present, two lives, separated by the decades,, tread a similar path in an effort to unravel secrets that dance between this world and another world that is unseen by many.

The writer seems to switch effortlessly between the two time scales with both Sarah and Anna’s accounts authentically enveloping us into the ethereal fairy world of Ireland. Some subtle little parallel nuances with Harold and Sarah, the outsiders, decades apart but both looking for a way in and both finding Anna! 

This book is populated with relatively ordinary people who chance upon some extraordinary events. One could see it as belonging to the magical realism genre but there’s more than a passing tip of the hat to folklore and legend which leads us  into the historical elements of the story. And then of course there’s romance! I don’t want to give anything away but as the bard said the path of true love never did run smooth.

The characters are accessible and likeable. You want to learn what happens to them, You want things to work out for them. Skilled is the writer who makes the reader care about the characters. The narrative flows along easily with that gorgeous subtle lilt that reminds us we are visiting the Emerald Isle along with Sarah. 

This is the kind of book to lose yourself in and allow the words to take you away to far flung places both geographically and spiritually. Whatever you may believe in your everyday world, isn’t it the place of fiction to sometimes take you where you’ve never been before? This book will do that but does remain grounded in our contemporary world.

I was unfamiliar with Evie Gaughan’s work but this has whetted my appetite. My thanks to Urbane Publications for the opportunity to read this novel novel!

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