Awakening by S J Bolton
Awakening was the second novel published by Sharon Bolton in 2009. It was book of the month for my book group. I particularly enjoy thrillers, crime novels and mysteries so I was really pleased. I had met Bolton at Bloody Scotland in Stirling Scotland last year. It was most interesting to learn how she started writing and to hear her read her work and speak about it. None of the other members of the book group had heard of S J Bolton and Awakening got a very mixed review from our members.
I found Awakening to be a well paced thriller, set in small English village introduces us to a young, reclusive, veterinary surgeon, Clara. She has been deeply scarred, physically and emotionally by an event from her childhood. A number of strange occurrences involving snakes draw Clara into investigating the mysteries with interesting results.
The story explores family secrets and discusses the lives of the four or maybe five Witcher brothers. They were once pillars of the community but strange religious rituals occurred fifty years ago at a church that was burned and never restored. There is also a strange, American sect the Church of the Latter Rain to contend with.The novel is a quintessential Gothic crime thriller. It is no coincidence that Bolton was dubbed the “high priestess of rural Gothic crime” in Harrogate, England at the book festival there in the summer of 2011. The author does, however, allow the reader a hint of romance when a kind neighbor and a TV celebrity and noted herpetologist befriend Clara.
If you enjoy a good mystery and love animals then Awakening is a great book for you. I found it tense and gripping. I could not put the book down and was impressed with the amount of interesting facts about snakes the author managed to incorporate into the narrative without boring me. I love animals and appreciated the character’s compassion for these often misunderstood creatures. I highly recommend this book.