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Author: Lynne Golding
Genre/category: General fiction, historical fiction
Release date: 30th Oct 2018
I knew nothing about life in a small Canadian town in 1907. But now I do! The Innocent is fiction, but inspired by stories told to the author by her cousin. She has done a lot of research into the historical context, and it shows.
The story is told from the point of view of Jessie Stephens, the youngest child in her family. Her family will not enter the local Presbyterian church, even though everybody else in the town does. She overhears a conversation that implies it has something to do with her grandfather – and the story revolves around her, over time, attempting to get to the bottom of her grandfather’s secret.
I liked Jessie as a character – she felt real. In fact the whole thing, due to the extensive research by the author, felt deeply rooted in reality. I enjoyed living her life for a while, experiencing the changing of the seasons, and the small moments that stood out to her in her young childhood – starting school, loss and grief, relationships, and fears (both rational and irrational). I enjoyed reading about her family from her perspective – her difficult, strict and distant father, her adored older brother, her eccentric aunt.
The only downside to this book was that it dragged. I found the writing style beautiful and descriptive, but there were moments – particularly the background information about the town and how it came to be – where it dragged so much I started to glaze over a bit. I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem if you really love historical fiction, and I imagine some people would find those parts more interesting than I did.
An interesting book – I’d want to find out more about what happens to Jessie!
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