5 September 2019
My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book
1976 Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurrences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .
NOW Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?
What did I think about it..
I can well remember the long, hot summer of 1976 when everyone said they would go mad with heat, and for Loo and Bee and their siblings their lives in the isolated cottage at Iron Sike Farm on the Yorkshire Moors are far from idyllic as the villagers treat them with indifference and it is their very isolation which allows imagination to run rife.
With its Gothic setting, the isolation and the sheer weight of supernatural happenings, The Wayward Girls has all the hallmarks of a traditional ghost story. Told in alternating narratives that of Loo in 1976, and then as Lucy as she is known in the here and now, a story emerges which is as complex as it is frightening.
The author writes well and keeps the tension cranked up to high especially when as she describes the struggles the family had in 1976 when mum, Cathy was trying, amidst a certain amount of chaos, to keep the family together. Lucy's struggles in the present as she meets other demands placed upon her forms the basis for the second part of the novel.
The Wayward Girls is an interesting and accomplished debut novel. It's truly creepy in places and made me jump at shadows even though I knew that there was nothing there. I think that setting the earlier part of the book in the stifling heat of the summer of '76 is inspired as it gives an altogether different sort of dynamic to what is, in effect, a spine-chilling ghost story which makes perfect reading for a dark wintery evening !
About the Author
Amanda Mason was born and brought up in Whitby, North Yorks. She studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts, where she began writing by devising and directing plays. After a few years of earning a very irregular living in lots of odd jobs, including performing in a comedy street magic act, she became a teacher and has worked in the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany. She now lives in York and has given up teaching for writing. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. The Wayward Girls, her debut novel, was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers prize.
Twitter @amandajanemason #TheWaywardGirls #KnockOnce