Scanning the array of sad looking books on my shelf, all bought long ago, their only destiny – to sit wedged on my shelf forever more, I pulled out The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood, blew the dust from the top, removed the hardback’s jacket and placed the book in my bag ready for my next day’s commute.
I couldn’t remember what had drawn me to it, it had been a couple of years since I’d bought the book for £3, picking it out of the bargain bin section at Waterstones (it still had the discount sticker on – now removed), so I had no clue what I was getting into with this one as I squeezed myself in for the twenty minute journey between the train window and the person sat in the middle seat of a row of three.
But pulling out my ‘new’ book to read, I was gripped from the start.
The book opens on a scene in which something bad has obviously happened. We are given a snippet of what is to come and then the story goes back to the beginning. This lends itself to a sense of foreboding and a tension that plays well throughout the book as we know something bad is going to happen at some point – but when?
The story focuses around Oscar Lowe, a young care assistant living in Cambridge, who falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a medical student at King’s College. He soon finds himself accepted into her group of friends and drawn into their world of privilege.
Things take a dark turn when Iris allows her brother, Eden, to experiment on Oscar, in a desperate bid to win him over and support her in seeking help for her brilliant yet disturbed kin.
As I said, I was gripped from the start but although I did really enjoy reading this, there were parts that were a bit of a drudgery that needed to be ‘got through’ so I could get to the juicy parts. The book, after all, is about a bunch of scholarly people, so of course there was going to be at least some in-depth scholarly talk. Which though is pertinent to the story, some of it’s a bit hard to follow. Thankfully this is sometimes reflected in some of the characters’ responses too (questioning, or plainly telling another character that they don’t understand), which helped to make me feel not so stupid if even some of the characters weren’t following what was going on either.
The rest of the story was really well written – easy to read (…) – and kept me turning page after page to find out what was going to happen next.
The ending didn’t disappoint me either. You know sometimes when you read a great book and then you get to the ending and you’re just left with a sense of being let down by the author in their shaky ending? Well, this did not happen with The Bellwether Revivals. Nothing felt left out, everything was tied up with a neat little bow by the end. I know some people, however, don’t like this – to have absolutely everything answered for them, but I think it needed it for this story and I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending.
In case you can’t tell, yes I would recommend this story; but to who? Those who like a bit suspense in their stories, I guess.
Up next to read: Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher. My TBR pile has had another two books added to it after a lunch time trip to HMV last week and the offer of 2 for £5 on books was thrust at me. I spotted this one from the late and great Carrie Fisher straight away and also picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I heard the radio play version months ago and with all the hype around the new television series, thought I should actually sit down and read it for myself. After Carrie’s, that is.
Until next time. x