The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins
'Alone! Alone on the frozen deep!'
I'm not going to say it is Wilkie's best and I will be the first to admit that it is nowhere near as good as his other works. Having said that, it is a brilliant piece of melodramatic fun and absolutely perfect as a pick-me-up for these chilly winter nights.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
'It is less distracting in the silence'
I think my little flurry of excitement above more or less indicates my reaction to this novel. There is something about Chevalier's stories that make you not want to stop reading. They have a very quiet power - there is no extreme drama or endless cliffhangers to keep me turning the pages but I keep turning them with relish nonetheless. I think it is the people she creates. They are so real you can imagine them as someone sat on the bus with you or someone you would pass walking down the street. Honor Bright, the focus of The Last Runaway, is no exception. I loved her as a character. I loved the way she made her decisions and thought about her religion deeply. She is a woman of her time and of her religion and it is important that she doesn't always make the 'right' choices but falls prey to family pressure. Having said that, she is not a wet blanket by any stretch of the imagination.
I think a shout out for Belle Mills is also necessary. As a support character she is brilliant - to the point and with a completely no nonsense attitude to life. Her presence definitely made the novel much more lively.
This novel gave me a really fascinating insight into the Quaker religion and the Underground Railroad. Both I knew very little about (I actually knew nothing about the latter) so as well as this being a lovely piece of fiction, it was also truly informative and has piqued my interest in a new to me subject.
Ok, so they were less reviews and more a jumble of random thoughts but hopefully you get the gist. Sometimes even my thoughts are incoherent.
Have you read The Frozen Deep or The Last Runaway?