Thursday 30 November 2017

Ethersay - Sarah L King

Title: Ethersay
Author: Sarah L King
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2017
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository

I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of "Ethersay" by Sarah L King prior to its release and was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. The book uses a dual narrative, to explore two periods in the life of Rebecca, a young political activist from Glasgow. The first follows her recovery on the mysterious island of Ethersay after a car accident strands her there. Whilst there she realises that there is something being hidden from her by the islanders and she is determined to find out what the secret is. The second narrative follows Rebecca's involvement in the Scottish Independence Referendum which results in the very accident which leaves her on Ethersay.

The pacing of this novel is spot on as the initial burst of action get the reader hooked before it slows down a notch as King builds the suspense and mystery up concurrently in both narratives. I found myself really looking forward to finding out what the secret of Ethersay was and how Rebecca would come to be there. It is quite hard to say much more without spoiling some of the plot but I suspect a few people will be surprised by the reveal at the end.

One thing I have to add in my review is that the depiction of the Scottish Referendum was spot on and whilst I didn't live in Glasgow, most of what Rebecca saw and experienced as a Yes activist was recognisable to me from my own involvement. I have seen a lot of non-fiction books charting the referendum from various high profile people but it was great seeing something written here which captured the hope and hard work of the regular activist even if the character themselves was fictional.

The best bit about this book from my point of view is that it was the first novel by King in which I have actually liked the main protagonist. Yes, Rebecca has her flaws as any realistic character would do but in this book those flaws didn't affect my ability to feel empathy for her. Rebecca being a Yes activist probably made it easy for me but I was actually quite happy to find that this time it was the main character I was supporting rather than one of the secondary ones.

Overall, this is a great first attempt at contemporary fiction from King. I can see this book really appealing to people who enjoy a good non-crime based mystery, but it should also appeal quite strongly to those people who were involved in the Scottish Independence Referendum. I can't sing it's praises enough as it entertained me but also brought back the memories of the referendum both good and bad.