54. The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis

Sorry for the break in posting, I was reading so much and forgot that I hadn’t put up reviews on what I had read! I picked this up in Waterstones when I bought ‘A Girl Called Justice’ by Elly Griffiths.

Synopsis (as taken from Amazon) is as follows:

Present day: Semira doesn’t know where to call home. She and her mother came to England when she was four years old, brought across the desert and the sea by a man who has complete control. Always moving on, always afraid of being caught, she longs for freedom.

1891: Hen knows exactly where to call home. Her stifling mother makes sure of that. But her Aunt Kitty is opening her eyes to a whole new world. A world of animal rights, and votes for women, and riding bicycles! Trapped in a life of behaving like a lady, she longs for freedom.

When Semira discovers Hen’s diary, she finds the inspiration to be brave, to fight for her place in the world, and maybe even to uncover the secrets of her own past.

Ability to read – I found it very easy to read this, partly from the language used and partly because I became so intrigued by the characters and the stories they had to tell that I was determined to uncover all. The drive I had to read the book had me reading at a faster pace and yet I was still able to understand all that I was reading.

Characterisation – Both Semira and Hen were fully developed and strong characters, It was easy to stand behind these characters and watch as their stories progressed. With Semira I felt my eyes were opened to a topic of conversation I knew about and had heard about but one I didn’t invest in knowing the knowledge of. Kind of like when you see something out the corner of your eye but don’t want to look at it. I found Semira’s story to be very powerful and moving and the fact that it touches on a subject that is very much present in today society, made the read very interesting and encouraged me to learn more about the subject.

Hen on the other hand, whose story was also powerful, offered me another look in the lives of females in the late 1800s. I have read many a history book in my life but none that presented the limitations in such a way that made me interested in what I was reading and interested in discovering more about what life was like for women of that time.

Visualisation – The book is wonderfully rich in descriptions and details and it made it easy for me to visualise what was happening and put myself next to the characters as the story progressed.

Uniqueness – Usually when I read stories that are split into present and past, it’s an adult book usually in the crime genre, so, reading this was a unique and unusual occurrence for me. I absolutely loved the story of this book and the difficult topic it approached. I felt myself carried along by the story and thought that both characters had very strong voices that carried their stories to my heart. This story was powerful and rich with heart.

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