One of the great things about book blogging is that I sometimes get offered books I might never have come across otherwise. That is the case with this book which David Haviland from Thistle Publishing contacted me about. And I’m so glad he did as it is a hidden gem.
Redferne Lane tells the story of young widow Grace who is grieving the loss of her husband Ezra. She is not coping well at all and has all but cut herself off from everyone, turning up late for work if at all and making all kinds of errors. She gets by on an ill advised cocktail of pills, cigarettes and alcohol. The reappearance of Ezra’s brother, Torin, brings back all kinds of uncomfortable memories for her. However, he may just be the person who manages to force her to live again. As Grace starts to get involved with the other residents of Redferne Lane, she realises she’s not the only one with problems to face.
The structure of the book is really rather clever. The story is told in two timelines with that of the present moving forward in time, while that in the past moves backwards in time. Yet somehow they come together, with the past of course explaining the present.
Grace is a fascinating character. You really get to understand her and get a feel for her grief and guilt. She is her own worst enemy, which she comes to realise to throughout the book. Through finally being forced to get involved with the lives of her neighbours, some of whom are family through her marriage to Ezra, she begins to slowly heal from her past pain and to look forward to a different kind of future. There’s plenty of drama throughout the book with a budding romance between truculent teens Eliza and Jerome, tending to her her elderly neighbour Ada who despite her failing physical health is certainly still one feisty character and helping out with her sister in law who has two young sons and is about to have her third child. Torin is a very significant part of the story in both the past and the present and is a very well drawn character. Like Grace, he is not without his faults and the two have a lot to come to terms with regarding Ezra and their shared past.
I enjoyed reading Redferne Lane which I found really compelling. The author made her characters and their lives seem vividly real to me. I will be looking out for more from this author in the future.
Thanks to the publishers Thistle Books for my copy of the book from Netgalley. Redferne Lane is available now in ebook and paperback formats. It should be available from good book retailers or you can order a copy online here: Redferne Lane
From the back of the book
Ezra had it all when he died. A good job. A nice house. His loving wife, Grace.
Grace doesn’t even realise she’s struggling to keep herself together. Until Torin turns up in Redferne Lane. It’s been nearly two years since Grace has seen Torin. Since Ezra’s funeral. Now Torin is back in her life, emotions from the past are resurfacing and Grace begins to realise elements of her life are going wrong. She’s not sure she can take control.
But Grace isn’t the only one with problems in Redferne Lane. Josie has a husband and young family to contend with. Ada is facing the difficulties of old age. Jerome thinks he’s found the perfect girl. Eliza just wants to grow up. And Torin isn’t sure he should have what he wants. They all begin to turn to Grace for answers. Can Grace look beyond her own difficulties and help those around her, even while she’s trying to save herself?
Sarah Scholefield initially trained as molecular biologist gaining a BSc (Hons) in Biology from The University of the West of England. After realising she wasn’t cut out for life in a laboratory she worked in numerous schools across the West Country. She has always enjoyed making up stories in her head and finally began to write them down. In 2014 she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Redferne Lane is her first novel. She lives in Somerset with her husband and children.