Sugar and snails is a beautifully written debut novel. It’s kind of a mid life crisis/coming of age story with a difference.
Diana is a woman in her mid 40s who has built a successful career yet remains unusually gauche and innocent. She has recently begun her first serious romantic relationship in a long time and is finding it difficult, she has kept herself at arms length from involvement for a long time, but is it herself she can't trust, or other people who have let her down in the past?
Her story is told in a series of flashbacks to her teenage years where it is clear she struggled to fit in with her family’s ideals and felt they would never understand her and as a result momentous decisions were made and actions taken which have impacted on her whole life.
Watching her family struggle to deal with her teenage angst, her inability to conform to their ideal of how their offspring should behave was enlightening and I went from holding them in some contempt to realising they really were making every effort to do what they thought was their best.
This is a beautifully written, character driven story, based around keeping secrets, and dealing with being different. It tackles some major issues in quite a gentle way.
I don’t think I will be causing any spoilers by confessing that I had in fact guessed what Di’s secrets were before I even began reading the book, but this didn’t spoil it for me as it was fascinating getting to know her character and discover how she grew from the misfit child to a woman I can only hold in the highest regard. I was a tiny bit disappointed that the ending left one big issue unresolved and left me jumping up and down dying to know what happened after the last page.
A moving and accomplished novel with a difference, especially poignant for anyone who, particularly as a child, felt misunderstood and different from everyone else.
Available now on Amazon amongst other places
I’d like to thank the author for sending me a copy of her book to read and provide my unbiased review.
The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin ...
At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.
To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance ... until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.
Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.