10 February 2022
My thanks to Historia Magazine for my copy of this book
It will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .
October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in the English countryside as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.
In London, rumors of a "fallen angel" cause a frenzy across the city, and a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .
The Gifts is an astonishing novel, a spellbinding tale told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition..
I’m rather late to the party with this book as I have only just discovered this lovely story after winning a copy of The Gifts in a competition run by Historia Magazine. And what a treat of a read this has turned out to be with its intricately plotted story about four courageous young women who dared to flaunt the confines of Victorian society. Dipping into the boundaries of science, nature, religion and enlightenment we venture into the realms of dangerous possibility.
Male domination abounds in this tale of thwarted mastery and with four strong female characters there is never a moment when you are not cheering on Natalya, Etta, Mary and Annie as they seek to find the answers they so desperately need in a world which is dominated by overpowering, and misguided, men. Carefully blending history, magical realism and fantasy, this story took me on a wonderful journey into the dark, dark world of Victorian melodrama, from its vividly described opening chapter, to the very last sentence, the story grabbed my attention.
The Gifts is a beautifully written historical novel which takes the idea of the classic fallen angel and turns this violently on its head in a powerful story which shocks in places but which is also wonderfully empathic in its depiction of four women who dared to be different in a world where men really wanted to keep them firmly in their place.
Best Read with…a large glass of port wine 🍷
About the Author
Liz Hyder has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Originally from London, she now lives in South Shropshire. She has a BA in drama from the University of Bristol, and in early 2018, she won the Bridge Award/Morniak Mhor Emerging Writer Award. Bear mouth, her debut young adult novel, won a Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, the Branford Boase Award and was chosen as Children’s Book of the Year in The Times. The Gifts is her debut adult novel.
Twitter @LondonBessie #TheGifts