The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Non-Spoiler Review

2020 has been a turbulent year. However, it has remained consistent in both the onslaught of new releases and the anticipated nature of those releases. However, if I had to pick just one highly anticipated release for 2020 it would have to be Stuart Turton’s The Devil and the Dark Water as I adored The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Turton’s debut which won the First Novel Award at the 2018 Costa Book Awards. I’ve already published my first impressions to celebrate publication day, but now I’ve finished all 500+ pages! Let’s find out if this beautifully produced book lived up to my expectations.

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The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton: First Impressions (100 Pages)

Book lovers will know the unrivalled anticipation of counting the days to the publication date of your most anticipated read of the year. Well, there is no better feeling than being blessed by Waterstones to receive your pre-order a couple of days early. I received my pre-order of Stuart Turton’s The Devil and the Dark Water on Tuesday and immediately devoured the first one hundred pages. To celebrate the publication day of this dark, mysterious and deliciously addictive read I’m going to share my initial impressions of the pages I’ve read. *

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People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Non-Spoiler Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for Clare Whitfield’s debut novel, People of Abandoned Character, following Daniel Bassett’s Instagram review (@Dantheman1504) I just had to read it. Like many, I am fascinated by the Jack the Ripper case focusing on the unsolved 1888 murders of five women in Whitechapel, London. The very concept of unsolved cases which have remained at the forefront of public knowledge for over one-hundred years and the continuous research surrounding both the perpetrator and his victims has remained fascinating since my early high school years. Discussions of Victorian surgery, nursing and doctors often come hand-in-hand with discussions of Jack the Ripper and his victims, so People of Abandoned Character also piqued my academic interests due to the focus on the body. You can imagine, therefore, how ecstatic I was to see the invitation to this wonderful blog tour pop into my inbox. I’m so happy to be participating in the Head of Zeus blog tour running from September 21st to 27th so please check out my fellow reviewers.

If this book sounds right up your street, I highly recommend reading it either alongside or directly preceding Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five, the ground-breaking historical account of the canonical five women’s lives and a powerful condemnation of the misogyny surrounding them.

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Afterland by Lauren Beukes:⭐️⭐️⭐️Non-Spoiler Review

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my ability to steer clear of pandemic fiction and non-fiction throughout lockdown. However, when the opportunity to read and review Afterland by Lauren Beukes I just had to make an exception. I’ll discuss this further below, but the concept of this sounded so intriguing that I just had to give it a read. As a medical humanities academic researcher, I’m sure you can imagine my intrigue to receive a book focusing on an oncovirus which has killed most men through prostate cancer. I’m so excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Afterland.

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The Inheritance by Anne Allen:⭐️⭐️⭐️Non-Spoiler Review

If your book features Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, and the history of his writing I’m going to read it. That is a fact of life. As soon as I read the description for Anne Allen’s latest Guernsey novel, I was so excited to see my favourite author feature so heavily in the plot.

I can’t easily describe my personal preference for Victor Hugo’s novels anymore, especially as my three favourite Hugo novels would make up a majority of my favourite novels of all time and they formed the basis of all three of my favourite musicals of all time. Les Misérables is the one that started it all as the epic basis of my go-to favourite musical, which fully converted me into a musical theatre fan, The Man Who Laughs became The Grinning Man which is easily my favourite modern musical ever and every time I read Notre-Dame de Paris it becomes my favourite novel all over again, it was also included in my Undergraduate dissertation and essays, and it became my favourite Disney animated film and stage musical. So, it’s all very close at the top.

I will give a content warning for this novel and by extension this review, for divorce and domestic abuse. As I’ve recently experienced the emotional rollercoaster that is job hunting, and as we’re in a difficult time for employment, I will also state that this novel focuses heavily on employment, and features Tess securing a new job.

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