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Somnambulist Hardcover – May 1, 2011
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Vividly compelling, dark and dazzling KATHERINE WEBB 'paints a vivid picture of Victorian times' 4 stars STAR MAGAZINE A gloriously gothic tale of guilt and deception, regret and lost love. LIVING NORTH This is a gutsy page-turning novel with a delightful heroine... larger than life Dickensian characters and generous supply of plot twists and turns. But it is no pastiche. It is an affectionate and knowledgeable homage to the genre and a thumping good read. HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW I was hooked on this well written tale taking in Victorian sleep-walking, lost love, murder and madness. BURY TIMES This wonderful debut novel is well-written. with lively believable characters... I found this book difficult to put down and look forward to reading more from this very promising author. GAZETTE & HERALD This wonderful debut novel ... is well written with lively and believable characters ... I found this book difficult to put down and look forward to reading more from this very promising author. YORKSHIRE GAZETTE AND HERALD
About the Author
Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London. Her debut novel, THE SOMNAMBULIST, was selected for the Channel 4 Book Club and was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category of the 2012 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS. She is the author of The Virtual Victorian: www.virtualvictorian.blogspot.com
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Once I realised my mistake, I again started reading. This book starts slowly, and I was tempted to quit reading at first. (I am not sure how much of that was the book, and how much was the fact that I intended to buy a different book with a very different plot.) But I kept on, and I was rewarded with an interesting story. Personally, I think some of the first chapters could have been left out to the benefit of the story overall, but that is a quibble.
Well written and interesting, this book has good characterisations and manages to avoid the trite, over-used plot devices one encounters again and yet again in so many books set in this era. Some of the "mysteries" that puzzle our heroine are pretty obvious to the reader from the beginning, but there are enough complications and twists to make reading the book worthwhile, and it has a couple of surprises towards the end. Best of all, the plot never takes the easy, conventional route that so many books slump into. The events in the book, although unconventional in themselves, have believable and logical consequences. There is no convenient - and all-too annoying! - deus ex machina turning up to fix the plot for the writer. This writer is too good to need such things.
Overall, I am glad I made the "mistake" of purchasing this book. It is definitely better than average.
EDIT: After some more thought, I changed my star rating from 3 to 4