I’m sorry I’ve been a bit quiet this week. In actual fact I have been in the South on England on a course and there is no phone reception let alone WiFi, meaning everything has been difficult other than reading and listening to Audiobooks. By four days in I have listened to 2 full audiobooks and started a 3rd. I have 2 on the , as I am listening to ‘Spectacles’ written and narrated by Sue Perkins as well, but I promised my other half that we would finished it together, so dear reader Sue has been paused for a week. I have also just finished ‘The Loney’ by Andrew Michael Hurley.
The narrator, a 15 year old boy affectionately called ‘Tonto’ by Father Bernard has spent his childhood, his holidays and his innocence protecting his brother. Andrew ‘Hanny’ Smith is mute and the faith of the community is praying for the miracle of his voice. Their weak ‘Farther’ and overbearing, well-meaning, always believing ‘Mummer’ take the boys (and other members of the congregation) to The Moorings. A retreat the village had always gone to where they could wash their faces in the dew and pray at the shrine for a miracle…I got this far in the blurb and wasn’t sure. This did not sound like my kinda of book at all, it was a Christmas present and I believe the person that bought thought I would like it. Never one to give up, I looked for the appeal AND there it was, ‘But then a child’s body is found. And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end’.
Yes, there it is, there’s my hook. I’m sold. Endorsed by Stephen King and winning a Costa Book award in 2015, it has to be worth pursuing. I did and I’m so glad I did. I realised upon finishing it, I still don’t know ‘Tonto’s’ real name, I don’t really know what happened to the baby and actually I don’t think I’m supposed to. Hanny’s story as told by his brother, the interweaved sub-plot of Father Wilfred’s death and how Father Bernard came to the parish and that fateful Easter trip to the old taxidermists place are nicely fabricated. Not too much time is spent on any one area, or any one character.
Father Bernard was given warmth, compassion and a hidden background meaning those who had loved and respected Father Wilfred, such as Mrs Smith and Belderboss’s treat him with suspicion and contempt. Mr Smith is inquisitive, patient and constantly in the wrong when it comes to his wife. The whirlwind that is Mrs Smith, is force to be reckoned with (just ask Miss Bunce) but her faith is unwavering and her heart is very much in the right place hen it comes to her son.
Don’t read this before a meeting, or in the dark, but read it. The religious influences add to the story but aren’t preachy. The confessions are honest and heartfelt and Tonto, well he grows up feeling abandoned and harbouring a secret.
So dearest reader, I am starting something a little different now. More steampunk but this time in written form.