It’s been a busy week for Books Beyond The Story and I have no intention of slowing down! Today I am on the official blog tour for Evie Gaughan’s newest novel, The Story Collector. I have been looking forward to this tour for a very long time! Hope you enjoy my review!
A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris. Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.
Official blurb for, The Story Collector.
Photo courtesy of the author, Evie Gaughan
I am a HUGE fan of historical fiction and because of this my expectations were extremely high when I received The Story Collector to review. And let me tell you, they were exceeded! Two women, one story, but will history repeat itself?
The way Anna and Sarah’s lives intertwined gave me an A. S. Byatt feel to it, like in her novel, Possession: A Romance. The key to pulling The Story Collector off, I believe, lies within the strength of the narrative. I was immediately transported into the characters’ world of loss and love. This story was beautifully written with so much emotion and depth that I didn’t know what was going to hit me next- tears of joy, sadness, mystery, folklore… this book had it all!
I was absorbed in each chapter, carefully reading each word which had been placed there for a reason. I thought the alternative chapters from Sarah’s story to that of Anna’s, in diary entry form, was a really effective structure as it kept the pace of the novel and created a gripping atmosphere that left me wanting more.
One of the best things a writer can do is have the reader make a connection with the characters almost immediately. I instantly sympathised with Sarah and was routing for her the entire way through. Going with her on her journey of discovering Anna’s story, I felt like I was there with her, egging her on. Although she had little time to grieve and her plans to go to Ireland were more than just ‘unpredictable’, I really warmed to her character as she felt real from the very beginning. She is human, yet she is also stringer than she believes.
What I took away from this book the most, is that although times change, people necessarily don’t. There are still good people, with moral values, full of hope and wisdom, and I think this is something to remember when you’ve had a bad day- that there is hope out there, and perhaps, just a little bit of magic. To sum up, I would say this is an enchanting tale of the past and present, love and loss, power and hope.
I would recommend this book for fans of A. S. Byatt, Jane Harris, and Lesley Pearse. I adored this story and believe it can’t be just labelled ‘chick-lit’ as it has so much depth and whimsy intertwined between its pages. Fans of historical fiction, drama, love, and a touch of magic, this book is for you!
How to get your hands on a copy
Follow the author! @evgaughan
A VERY BIG THANK YOU to Evie Gaughan for my wonderful signed copy of the story collector! I am honoured to take part in the blog tour! Evie asked if I have had any events occurred that I couldn’t quite explain, perhaps superstitious, so I thought I would share my mystery: one night when I was going to sleep (a few years ago now, I was about 13 I think?) I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night to a dark cloaked figure tapping my foot to wake me up. I wasn’t scared, but still I didn’t move. I must’ve closed my eyes because all of a sudden, they were gone. However, I was glad I had woken up because I felt I needed my inhaler. Whatever was in my room was trying to tell me I needed to wake up and take it! I convinced myself I must have been dreaming, but you never know!
I have truly enjoyed being on the blog tour for The Story Collector! Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour either! (See below)
Happy reading! Lx