This book has been sitting on my to-be-read pile for some time now and having now got around to reading it, I can say it was there far too long! I loved this story of four generations of women spanning over 80 years. All four characters were so well-crafted that each had a very individual voice. The story begins with Damson in the 1980s then moves back in time to her grandmother Sarah in the 1930s, her mother Melissa in the 1960s and then back to Damson in more recent times. With her attention to detail of the fashion, music and social attitudes of each era portrayed, Josa Young has created a real sense of the time and place that each of her characters were living in.
Damson is the central character of the tale but it was her mother Melissa who I found myself most engaged with. It is clear that from a very early age Melissa has suffered from mood swings and depression. Living in a time where mental illness was not recognised or swept under the carpet it was so sad to read of her deterioration, particularly following the birth of Damson. Josa Young has written so convincingly of the way she was feeling that I just wished that someone would recognise her depression and do something to try to help her. I should mention Damson’s father, Munty, too. Although the novel is primarily about the women of the family, I found the chapters where he was the main voice were also very well written and gave another perspective to the story of Melissa in particular.
This was beautifully written book and one I am surprised to find was self-published. Josa Young’s writing is of a high standard, her story moving and well plotted and her characterisation of the women throughout the book is excellent. It is her attention to detail that lifts this book from a good read to a great one.
My thanks to Josa Young for giving me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. Sail Upon the Land was published on 1st December 2014 and you can buy a copy here: Sail Upon the Land.
Bestselling author Rachel Hore had this to say about her preview read: ‘Josa Young writes with warmth and wisdom about the complexities of motherhood in this captivating tale of four generations of women that sweeps eighty years of English history. Her eye for period detail is masterly and her characters so vivid they dance from the page and into our hearts.’