Monday, 11 April 2016

Someone else's conflict - Alison Layland - excellent storytelling

My Review

What an engaging storyline and wonderful characters I met between the pages of this exceptional, scintillating novel.

It's tip top quality romantic fiction but is SO much more than chicklit or a love story. Set mainly in the Yorkshire Dales, a setting I found instantly familiar, together with occasional trips back in time to a period of war and unrest in former Yugoslavia (a setting I also found a touch familiar as I visited there on holiday, at a very tense time just a week before the civil war first erupted)

Jay is a wanderer, he leads a nomadic life never putting down roots. Moving from town to town busking for a living, weaving stories and telling them in marketplaces, doing the occasional odd job. Does his propensity for weaving a fantastic tale mean he can't be trusted? That's what Marilyn wonders. Instantly attracted to Jay, she's nonetheless very wary, having recently freed herself from a bad relationship she's reluctant to open her heart in case its torn into even smaller shreds. We meet Marilyn when she's panicking over a stolen purse, she has her own ideas about a young lad who may have stolen it but can't prove anything. That's not her only problem, she badly needs some help at home, repairing the old isolated house and barn she is renovating, especially when a storm comes along and causes damage.

Jay happens to be nearby and he's available and willing to help. He keeps his background close to his chest and we learn about his past in series of flashbacks, he is haunted by his past and the spectre of a young boy who haunts his memories and won't give him peace of mind. Another young lad comes on the scene too, Vinko, whose story is somehow connected to Jays past.

The drama unfolds gradually at first, with secrets from the past and some very dodgy characters coming to light and suddenly we're thrust into activity, immersed in a murder, corruption and the lives of illegal immigrants, confict and deception.

This clever book has all the elements of great storytelling, thrills, action, secrets, great location and complex characters.

It reminded me somewhat of The Cheesemaker's House similar writing and location and both sheer reading pleasure.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves a little romance, a lot of excellent narrative, a few surprises and a really gripping read. I loved it and I would hate this to slip beneath the radar, it's so very excellent. I also think it would make a fab book for reading groups as theres lots to discuss and something for everyone amidst these pages

I'd like to thank Helena at Honno Press for providing me with a copy for review, do have a look at their website, there are some real treasures of books there.

The Blurb

The boy looks up and sees the foreigner's rifle aimed at him. Why is this man here? This is not his conflict, it is not the boy's... it is hell.

Jay has been home for a long time, but the ghosts of Yugoslavia
are still with him as he busks his way round the country.

Marilyn is fresh out of a controlling relationship and desperate
to reassert her independence. The last thing she needs is to fall
for an itinerant storyteller who has a strange relationship with
the truth. And then the police call on her.

When the past catches up with the present and stories become
reality, Jay and Marilyn must decide who to believe and who
to betray.

A compelling narrative of trust and betrayal, love, loyalty and honour from a talented debut novelist.

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