The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister:
Welcome to my blog today where I am taking part in the Blog Tour for the new book by Brenda Bannister called The Tissue Veil.
It's an intriguing and heartwarming dual time story set in 1901 and 2001 and features two teenage girls aeons apart but whose lives become as close as though they were divided by a thin sheet of tissue paper, the tissue veil.
Both girls are teenagers with all the angst of young adulthood, facing decisions which could shape their entire futures, so this would make an ideal young adult read, as a coming of age novel, nevertheless I feel it will appeal to any age, I adored it and loved meeting Aysha and Emily.
Aysha lives in the 21st century, in a house in London with her large Asian family, her beloved father moved here from Pakistan when he was a young man, now an ageing invalid he oversees his family from an armchair as he recuperates. Aysha is heading towards her A-levels, trying to reconcile the strict family values instilled on her by her extended, very traditional family who plan that she will soon make an advantageous marriage and be satisfied with domesticity and motherhood, with the normal social issues faced by any teenage girl, boys, friends and studying. Closely watched by her older brothers and strict Mum who still speaks little English and lives an isolated life which revolves around her home and family, Aysha feels a need to make her own niche, but struggles to break free.
As part of her coursework for exams she chooses to research the local history of the area surrounding her home, a large old street house.
This causes her to discover a journal, hidden for almost a century beneath her bedroom floorboard. This diary was written by a former occupant, Emily. Of a similar age Emily confides her worries and problems to her diary, and to Aysha as she reads the words written a hundred years earlier in this same house.
The worries and difficulties Emily was facing in the past, had very different causes but resonate strongly with Aysha. Emily is grieving for lost family and also wanting to make her own way in the world despite living in an age when women were expected to become an obedient wife and mother. Both girls face constraints and expectations within their own homes, which they feel unable to comply with. Then one day Aysha reads her own name in the book and begins to realise that although she has never seen Emily, somehow Emily has seen her!
I loved both girls storylines which are so very different and also extremely similar. I didn't find it hard to believe that communication across the years was possible between the two unlikely friends and watching their lives unfurl before me, was gripping and satisfying. It was like reading two books together which complemented each other perfectly.
It's about clashes of class and culture and above all it's about the strength which, even oppressed women, find when it's most needed. I also loved Daisy and found I could relate more to Emilys story in the past than to Aysha's in the much more recent past.
What if you discovered a hundred-year-old diary under your floorboards - and then found references in it to yourself? Or if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times?
And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand?
Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha's discovery of a journal and Emily's sightings of a 'future ghost'. Each takes courage from the other's predicament - after all, what's a hundred years between friends?
order your copy now
or a local bookstore
Author Bio –
Brenda studied English at university and later qualified as a librarian, working in various educational settings from schools to higher education. Moving from London to Frome in Somerset in 2010 proved a catalyst for her own writing as she joined local fiction and script writing groups.
She has had a number of short stories published, plus short plays produced in local pub theatre, but all the while was incubating a story based in the area of Tower Hamlets where she had worked for eighteen years. This germ of a story became 'The Tissue Veil'.
Brenda is a founder member of Frome Writers' Collective, an organisation which has grown from a handful of members to over a hundred in the past four years, and helped set up its innovative Silver Crow Book Brand. She is also the current organiser of the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition.
A lifelong reader, Brenda rarely follows genres, but enjoys modern literary fiction, historical fiction, classics and the occasional detective novel. The latest Bernard Cornwell might be a guilty pleasure, but she'll be even more eager to get her hands on Hilary Mantel's final instalment of Thomas Cromwell's story.
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