If you lost everything in one night, what would you do?
Saffron is studying for a promising career in medicine until a horrific accident changes her life for ever. Needing to escape London, she moves to a small coastal town to live with her mother. Saffron hates the small town existence and feels trapped until she meets Joe, another outsider. Despite initial misgivings, they grow closer to each other as they realise they have a lot in common. Like Saffron, Joe has a complicated past … one that’s creeping up on his present. Can Joe escape his demons for long enough to live a normal life – and can Saffron reveal the truth about what really happened on that fateful night? Love is the one thing they need most, but will they – can they – risk it?
Set in the Welsh seaside town of Coed Mawr, Redemption Song tells the story of mother and daughter Rain and Saffron. After a tragic accident changes the course of both of their lives Saffron moves to Coed Mawr to be close to her mother in an attempt to escape her memories, but it soon becomes apparent that Rain is struggling to escape some memories of her own.
Whilst feeling trapped in Coed Mawr Saffron ends up meeting Joe who rescues her when her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Despite meeting purely by chance, there is an immediate spark between the two but it appears that they are both reluctant to get close to anyone. They also both have no intention of sticking around the small seaside town. However, it seems that neither of them can out-run the attraction that they share, but why are they both so reluctant to let their guards down and what exactly is it that they are they so afraid of?
If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you will know that Laura Wilkinsons’ previous novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, was one of my favourite reads of 2014. So well researched and brilliantly written, I have been eagerly awaiting more from Laura ever since I turned the very last page.
So you can imagine my delight when the opportunity to review Laura’s latest novel, Redemption Song, arose. I will be the first to admit that I had ridiculously high expectations and whilst this book is a million miles away from Public Battles Private Wars, I still enjoyed it every bit as much.
I love how Laura has crafted the characters for this novel. They are so distinctive and memorable, with such unique voices. I grew to like them all immediately and all for different reasons. Rain because she was such a memorable, realistic and strong woman. Rain is actually a Minister and I found the religious aspect of the novel added a unique angle to the story. Rain is one of those characters who you will easily bond with and I found myself feeling really attached to her as the story went on.
Saffron and Joe were also fascinating characters. Saffron’s pain is very raw and understandably she is finding life difficult after everything that’s happened. It’s not long before we discover exactly why Saffron feels the way she does and I really felt for her. She was a great character to read about, although at times it felt as though she was much younger than twenty-five.
Joe also intrigued me. We don’t get to uncover his secret until much further on in the story and I was desperate to know what he was running from. I had so many questions – who was Allegra? Why did Joe not want to be discovered? Why was he planning revenge? I HAD to find out and there was no way I was putting this story down until the truth had been uncovered.
The supporting characters in Redemption Song were wonderful and equally as important to the story. Ceri was my favourite and as soon as she was described as ‘the Welsh Vicky Pollard’ I knew I was going to love her. I grew pretty fond of Eifion, too.
The setting of Coed Mawr was utterly perfect. Whilst it may not be the most glamorous or bustling of places, Laura made me want to go there and I had no trouble envisaging the surroundings. I want to visit Eifion’s rock shop, I want to go to Y Castell, I want to sample the doughnuts on the pier. It was such a fitting setting for the story that unfolded and it sounded beautiful to me.
Whilst this is quite a complex story with many layers, Laura is such a talented storyteller that she paces it perfectly, ensuring that you find out all that you need to know about various characters at just the right times. The story is narrated by Rain, Saffron and Joe and it is extremely clever how we are privy to Joe’s internal dialogue but never uncover his secrets until we are meant to.
I also MUST mention the ending of the story which was truly perfect. As good endings should be, it was the missing piece of the puzzle and it left me feeling emotional yet extremely satisfied.
The way that Laura tackled the topic of grief was done in such an admirable way. There’s a particular paragraph which stuck with me and that is when Rain was thinking about the shape and size of her grief and saying how it changed shape constantly as it ‘slipped from her fingers, springing into the air’. I think a lot of readers will be able to identify with the feelings and emotions that Rain, Saffron and Joe experience. It’s amazing how grief can make us respond to things and how grief can completely change our perceptions. Laura uncovers so many truths in this novel and it’s one that is guaranteed to make you stop and think.
Redemption Song is an intriguing and realistic take on one families struggle to survive all that life has thrown at them. It’s full of emotion, drama and is a hugely memorable and addictive read.
You are now looking at a fully fledged Laura Wilkinson fan…
A huge thank you to Laura for sending me a copy of Redemption Song to review. Be sure to check out the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour… ♥
Laura/L.C Wilkinson grew up in a Welsh market town and now lives in Brighton with her husband and two boys. As well as writing fiction, she works as an editor for literary consultancy, Cornerstones. She has published short stories in magazines, digital media and anthologies. She writes general fiction as Laura Wilkinson and erotic romance as L. C. Wilkinson. Public Battles, Private Wars is published by Accent Press and follows a young miner’s wife as she struggles to find her role in life during the year long strike of 1984. L.C.’s first hot romance is All of Me, published by Xcite. The sequel, All of Him, is out in May 2014. What does all her work have in common? Compelling stories, fascinating characters, and ideas that make you think a little. At least she hopes so!