Book review: The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull

1 Jan

Imagine if you couldn’t see
couldn’t hear
couldn’t speak…
Then one day somebody took your hand and opened up the world to you.

Adeliza Golding is a deafblind girl, born in late Victorian England on her father’s hop farm. Unable to interact with her loving family, she exists in a world of darkness and confusion; her only communication is with the ghosts she speaks to in her head, who she has christened the Visitors. One day she runs out into the fields and a young hop-picker, Lottie, grabs her hand and starts drawing shapes in it. Finally Liza can communicate.

Her friendship with her teacher and with Lottie’s beloved brother Caleb leads her from the hop gardens and oyster beds of Kent to the dusty veldt of South Africa and the Boer War, and ultimately to the truth about the Visitors.

I start the New Year with a review of an excellent 2014 debut that I read over Christmas. The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull is an accomplished and captivating story about Adeliza Golding, a deafblind girl born in Victorian England and her life as she grows up. From the first pages I loved Liza’s voice and was absolutely gripped by her descriptions of  ‘the Time Before’ when she was unable to communicate with the outside world. Almost painful to read, Rebecca has truly put herself into the mind of a child unable to see or hear and her descriptions throughout the book are wonderful.

At age six, Liza meets Lottie, a young daughter in a family of hop pickers that work on Liza’s father’s farm each summer. As Lottie picks up Liza’s hand and begins to communicate with her, Liza’s world changes forever and from that moment the two girls are inseparable. The descriptions as Liza discovers the world and learns to communicate, are just wonderful and so detailed and evocative that I just didn’t want to stop reading.

But this book is much more than a story of a special friendship and one girl’s triumph over her disabilities; there’s romance, adventure, war and of course the mystery surrounding The Visitors, all clearly underpinned by detailed and fascinating historical research.

I felt that there were two stories in this book; the first concerning Liza’s life and the second relating to The Visitors. I thought the treatment of The Visitors was interesting and not unbelievable, even for those sceptical of the paranormal. For much of the book I couldn’t see what their role in the story would be, so the ending when it came was a nice surprise and I enjoyed the twist in the tale.

The Visitors is a rich and beautifully written historical fiction debut and would make an excellent start to your reading year.

4/5

The Visitors is released on 2nd January in hardback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Rebecca and her writing at: http://rebeccamascull.tumblr.com/

I’d like to thank Francine at Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a review copy of this book.

 

One Response to “Book review: The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull”

  1. Dave Simon 3rd February 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    Hi!
    I saw your blog and I wondered whether you would be willing to write and publish an honest review of my wife’s book ‘Old Magic in Everyday Life’?
    It is a spiritual find-yourself-again journey-book that includes autobiography, humorous stories and meditations for you to try on your own path.
    I hope it is of interest to you – if not, please accept my apologies for troubling you.
    It is available through Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1873295448), more details at vavsimonbooks.co.uk.
    I would be happy to send you the ebook version (in either epub or mobi format).
    Please let me know.
    Thanks, Dave

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