A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a copy of fellow blogger TB Markinson’s debut novel, A Woman Lost to review. Find her blog here http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/tag/a-woman-lost/
A Woman Lost details the life of Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Petrie, a young woman whose voice within the novel (told in first person) is strong, independent and intelligent. Lizzie lost contact with her family after they were not fully accepting of her as a lesbian, and in the opening chapters of A Woman Lost the Petrie family find themselves reunited for the upcoming nuptials of Lizzie’s brother, Peter. Lizzie meets her future sister-in-law and a myriad of confusing and conflicting thoughts enter her mind. Of course, as you can imagine, subsequent drama occurs.
As a reader we find ourselves understanding Lizzie, sympathising with her struggles and anticipating where her faults will arise. That is the key part of TB Markinson’s writing that stood out for me – the characters are far from perfect. Lizzie’s flaws aren’t your typical protagonist clichés, and neither are they hugely over the top. It becomes clear that her stony attitude at times stems from her family’s judgement of her sexuality, and her emotional distance from her girlfriend also seems to be a huge part of this. Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend, is blindly hopeful that she and Lizzie will soon settle down together, whereas Lizzie has other ideas.
Key moments of embarrassment and humour come from Lizzie’s mother, who has an almost Lucille Bluth style of judgment and crassness. This kind of condescension is something everyone has encountered in their lives. Within A Woman Lost the conflicts that arise from this are resolved in a refreshing, rather than saccharinely sweet way. Throughout the novel, Lizzie comes into contact with situations and characters that everyone can identify with, so prepare to have some emotional reactions!
A Woman Lost is a novel about both accepting and finding oneself; using your inescapable past as a springboard into the future rather than an anchor in something you want to be free from. For a debut novel A Woman Lost reads very easily, with only a few awkward turns of phrase that awaken you from the immersive plot. It is perfect holiday reading for those of you heading to sunnier shores this summer and will have you gripped from the first page.
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