U.S. Publication Date: August 26th 2014 from St Martins Press.
UK – Available now from Corvus.
Thank you to the author and to St Martins Press for the netgalley review copy.
When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she’s taken on.
First of all, I am not entirely sure myself why this particular novel captured my imagination the way it did – but it really really did.
The premise or rather construction of the story is not entirely new, but the way Natalie Haynes tells us the tale is imaginative, captivating and utterly engaging . We start the book knowing that a tragedy has occurred but not the details nor the specific players – as things unfold using diary entries, real time action and past flashbacks, it is compelling stuff.
Alex has suffered a terrible loss and wants to try and make a whole new life – when in an effort to engage some of the more difficult students at the Pupil Referral Unit where she teaches she decides to get them interesting in the Greek Tragedies, in her pain she is oblivious to the emotional affects these stories are having on them..
This is full of what I call “Gorgeous prose” where the story flows along taking you with it – Alex is a terrifically drawn character, grieving, angry and not really sure what to do with the rest of her life….she captures the hearts of some of the more intense and troubled students – but not necessarily in a good way.
Admittedly I do not know the source material very well – a situation I intend to rectify – but reading this it is actually quite amazing to see how relevant those dramatic and often horrific stories are to the emotions and thought processes of modern times…the themes of fate versus free will, vengeance versus forgiveness are weaved subtly into the plot and it is wonderful to behold.
Excellent read that did truly get to the heart of me – and a heads up, if you are lucky enough to have a copy with the added bonus of a short essay from Ms Haynes as an afterword talking about why the Greek Tragedies are perfect in conjunction with todays teenagers then make sure you give that a read when you are done.
Find out more here: http://www.nataliehaynes.com/
Happy Reading Folks!