Around the World with #BookConnectors and TripFiction: A Kettle of Fish by Ali Bacon

The Around the World Tour is a partnership between TripFiction and #BookConnectors – bloggers and authors, travelling the world, through fiction.

TripFiction was created to make it easy to match a location with a book and help you select good literature that is most pertinent and relevant to your trip. A resource for armchair and actual travellers, it is a unique way of exploring a place through the eyes of an author. We blog, and chat books and travel across Social Media, and love to meet authors and bloggers as we take our literary journey.

Book Connectors  was created as a place on Facebook for Bloggers, Authors and small Publishers to share their news. We encourage book promotions; information about competitions and giveaways; news of events, including launch events, signings, talks or courses. Talk about new signings, about film deals …. anything really. Book Connectors is  a friendly group, there are no rules or guidelines – just be polite and respectful to each other.

I’m delighted to be the first stop on this literary tour of Scotland. I was paired up with Ali Bacon and have a review of her book A Kettle of Fish to share with you. A Kettle of Fish is set in the fishing communities of Fife and my home city of Edinburgh.

Ali Bacon

Ali Bacon was born in Dunfermline in Scotland and graduated from St Andrews University. After short periods in Oxford and London, she moved to Bristol where she has lived ever since.
Her writing has been published in Scribble, The Yellow Room and a number of online magazines. She was shortlisted for the A&C Black First Novel Competition 2006. A Kettle of Fish is her first published novel.

Website and blog:

She’s running as fast as she can, but the past is catching up. Ailsa has just left school and should be living it up on a summer trip, but her plans are scuppered by her needy and secretive mother Lorraine. In desperation she takes up with local fishmonger Ian. He’s good for her soul and her sex-life, but their future is blighted by the shadow of Ailsa’s absent father Tom, an art-teacher who left home after making the papers in the worst possible way. Ian eventually blots his copy book and Lorraine is implicated in his treachery. Ailsa takes off for Edinburgh where Shane, a picture rights dealer with more than a touch of the night, is happy to provide a job and a bed. With him Ailsa lets go of her inhibitions, but can she let go of her past? A Kettle of Fish moves from the East coast of Fife to the art galleries of Edinburgh, where Ailsa finds herself fishing for clues about Tom.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this story set in Fife and Edinburgh – both places I am very familiar with. Although I don’t live in a small town, I feel that Ali Bacon has really captured the closeness and claustrophobia of such a place. Every time you turn a corner, you meet someone you know and everybody knows everybody else’s business. No wonder Ailsa longed to escape. I loved all the sea and fishing imagery Ali used in the book, lots of very visual descriptions. She painted a vivid picture of Ailsa’s surroundings from the fishing towns in Fife to the big city of Edinburgh.

I thought that Ali portrayed her characters very well, in particular the emotions of Ailsa. She’s a teenager but it didn’t feel like I was reading about a teenager. She was very mature and no doubt had had to grow up fast due to being her mother’s carer. Her father was absent and no-one ever spoke about him. A library newspaper search revealed the possible shocking reason why. The mystery behind Ailsa’s absent father was gradually revealed and just when I thought that all had been solved, there was a further big twist with more connections between the characters than I’d realised. I also liked Ian, Ailsa’s boyfriend. I felt sorry for him as he seemed a really nice guy and was caught up in Ailsa’s problems without really knowing or understanding why she behaved the way she did.

A Kettle of Fish is a very well written and captivating read. There is a real sense of mystery surrounding Ailsa’s father and it’s a page-turner because of that. I feel it is deserving of a wider audience and at only £1.15 currently for a Kindle version and £1.38 for a paperback copy, it’s a total bargain. Go and buy it and immerse yourself in the world of fish and the sea and mystery in Fife and in Edinburgh.

You can buy a copy of the book here: A Kettle of Fish

3 thoughts on “Around the World with #BookConnectors and TripFiction: A Kettle of Fish by Ali Bacon

  1. So glad you enjoyed it Joanne. I admit I also have a soft spot for Ian, so I’m pleased he came across as a good guy! as for the paperback price. I didn’t realise it was such a bargain at the moment so I suggest anyone interested snaps it up. Usual price is £8.99 on Amazon!


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