Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Unseeing - Anna Mazzola

Book Details

Book Title: The Unseeing

Author: Anna Mazzola

: Tinder Press 2016

Source: Sent to me via Bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.

Page Count: 357

Format: Hardback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Audience: Those who enjoy history and mystery neatly entwined into fiction.

Laugh or Cry: Cry...

Buy? Read? Avoid?: I definitely recommend reading this! If your going to buy it, get the hardback, so nice!

Summed up in one word: Sacrifice

First Impression: I know I say things I shouldn't when writing an unbiased review on an authors material, but the fact that I got a hardback adds bonus points :) On to the book, this was a solid effort written by a determined author. I enjoy the historical britishness of this book, crafted nicely, sending me back to old London, with its harsh lifestyle and unruly legal system. The story is based on true events, well the events surrounding Sarah Gale, and the setting is well researched. Aside from that, the rest of the plot and characters were created by Anna Mazzola herself. I very much look forward to AM's next book but until!! (p.s there is quite a lot to spoil here so I am going to try and be brief and effective...)

Summary Of The Book:

Hannah Brown has been murdered. Murdered at the hands of James Greenacre. Sarah Gale, his long time partner, accused of aiding and abetting. The jury refused to believe that Greenacre did not kill Hannah Brown and that Sarah Gale did not know about every detail. Gale and Greenacre were sentenced to death by hanging...

As the right of every prisoner, they are allowed to plead for mercy from the King and everyone always pleads. Usually these requests are denied but in Sarah Gale's case, they make an exception and give Edmund Fleetwood the opportunity to investigate the ruling of the courts. Edmund is an up and coming lawyer in London, looking to make a name for himself. This does not mean he will cut corners, he will make his name by doing his job by the book, letting fact rule over emotion. Upon meeting Sarah in Newgate Prison and talking over the facts, Edmund finds that nothing adds up in any account of the murder and does not understand why Sarah Gale will not tell the truth and protect herself and her young child.

Can he find out the truth behind it all before the accused make their walk to the gallows...?

My Review:

As always I find it hard to be brief and not spoil any book. I am a book lover and I love spoilers...But here I will do my best not to spoil a thing, as I want people who read this (if your out there thank you! High Five!) to read this book and thank me later :) Thank you to Anna Mazzola for writing this book and giving me the opportunity to go on and on and on about!!

Though only certain aspects of this book are officially documented and happened to Sarah Gale, most of the events in this book happened to people everyday and it is truly heart breaking, we are very lucky to live how we do and I wanted that thought in everyone's mind. London in the 1800's was poverty ridden, starvation was a part of daily life and the slander of the accused was not limited at all, it was fuelled by hysteria and the masses. We are taken to that very point in time and my visit there upset me, enthralled me and made me acknowledge a topic I had not previously considered very much at all. (The only other time I have spent in this era is within Ripper Street, a British TV program set in post Jack The Ripper London).

Characters! Now Sarah Gale is a real life person and some of her struggle is shared here, but other than the setting, Anna Mazzola had a free reign on her creation, she did such a good job with these characters and for that I am grateful. Sarah Gale and Edmund Fleetwood on the surface are scared, naive and struggling to keep their head above the surface of their respective situations. The book is split between Sarah's experience in prison and Edmunds experience with the workings and the people of London. Neither of our main characters are what they seem and they can surprised the reader in many ways. I feel that Edmund was the the better lead character in this book, his plot was full of twists and turns and I think he was well written and made this book shine. The other characters in this book all have minor roles that help establish emotion or direct the flow of the plot but they are not very note worthy.

Plot! The plot in The Unseeing in my opinion is very strong. Not only being based on true events, this story takes the reader all the way back to London. The reader is taken to those filthy streets, made to walk amongst the poverty and follow Edmund around London turning over all the stones he can find to get to the truth. The reader is also locked up in Newgate Prison with Sarah Gale and there is no escaping the darkness, the screaming and the prison guards. This is a book about truth, why is Sarah hiding the truth that may save her? And why is Edmund allowed to seek the truth that may free a convicted woman? There are some strong themes here that I have already mentioned, the few that I haven't mentioned are family, corruption, mental health, gender discrimination and anger.

Overall The Unseeing is a thoroughly researched and intense piece of historical fiction. Anna Mazzola has shown us her potential, this is her debut novel, I am seriously looking forward to her future releases. Hopefully they will also make their way to my blog aswell. If history and fiction are for you, then this book is definitely worth your time.


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