Thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Fell by Jenn Ashworth today. It is published in Hardback by Sceptre on 14th July 2016.
When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long-empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn't realise is that she's not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette...
Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.
Blurring the boundaries between the corporeal and spirit worlds and subtly echoing the myth of Baucis and Philemon, this is an eerily beautiful, evocative and highly original novel, which underlines the eternal potency of hope.
Fell is the first book that I have read by Jenn Ashworth. There are times in my reading life when I order the back catalogue and then keep my eyes peeled for any further books that might be forthcoming in the future and this author has certainly caused me to do this. Her writing is quite simply sublime. This book also looks beautiful, the lettering looks like it is subsiding like the house that Annette returns to.
To be honest I wasn't entirely convinced that I would like this book, preferring to steer away from the supernatural. I can say however that I adored it. It is a little bit weird, but weird in a good way. It has a rich and ethereal quality to it. The words danced off the page as shadows would do off of the walls of the eerie house of our story, a house called The Sycamores. Annette is returning to the house in the hopes of selling it but her parents spirits are around to try and look after her. I got the impression that they were watching from the window sill. The house is falling apart and adds to the bleak atmosphere that oozes from the pages and the cracks of the walls.
There are sections about Annette's mother and her illness, I found these sections incredibly well written and moving. We also meet another character called Timothy Richardson who becomes a Lodger for Jack and Netty. He is said to have healing powers, can he cure Netty?
I would say that this is a story of loss and loneliness, about feeling set adrift and left neglected. There is no let up from the haunting feeling and the location has been used perfectly to aid in the telling of the story. There are some questions in this story that remained unanswered. That sort of fade away like the voices of Jack and Netty floating on the breeze.
The language in this book ebbs and flows as does the story. The time frame shifting backwards and forwards. Steeped in mysticism and mythology, I felt like there was a continual chill in the air whilst reading. The writing is poetic and at times sparse.
I want to think of so many clever things to say, to convey to you how much I love this book but it is an experience that you need to immerse yourself in. It is for you to become interwoven with the enchanting quality of it. Such an accomplished novel in so many ways. If you like to read something out of the ordinary but ultimately rewarding then let it be this one.
About the Author:
Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster.
Jenn Ashworth’s first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award the following year. In 2011 her second, Cold Light, was published by Sceptre and she was chosen by BBC's The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. In 2013 her third novel, The Friday Gospels, was published to resounding critical acclaim.
Please do have a look at the other stops on the tour: