Saturday, 18 January 2014

Review: The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull

The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 2 January 2014
Rating: ****
Back Cover Blurb: Imagine if you couldn't see. Couldn't hear. Couldn't speak... Then one day somebody took your hand and opened up the world to you. Adeliza Golding is a deafblind girl, born in late Victorian England on her father's hop farm. Unable to interact with her loving family, she exists in a world of darkness and confusion; her only communication is with the ghosts she speaks to in her head, who she has christened the Visitors. One day she runs out into the fields and a young hop-picker, Lottie, grabs her hand and starts drawing shapes in it. Finally Liza can communicate. Her friendship with her teacher and with Lottie's beloved brother Caleb leads her from the hop gardens and oyster beds of Kent to the dusty veldt of South Africa and the Boer War, and ultimately to the truth about the Visitors.


The Visitors is the second historical fiction novel I've picked up in less than a week. It was kindly sent to me by Wish List books, and by the time I'd read the first few lines I was hooked.

The Visitors is a beautiful tale of friendship, romance and learning how to overcome disability. It follows the protagonist, Adeliza (Liza) from birth, right through to adulthood.

Liza is born partially sighted (from what I can gather), but after contracting a fever at the age of Two, she is left both deaf and blind, plunged into darkness and silence. Unable to communicate with her beloved family, Liza becomes increasingly frustrated and angry. Her only communication is with the Visitors, the ghosts that she speaks to in her head.

One day Liza escapes from her monotonous routine with her Nanny and runs out into her Father's hop fields where her hand is taken and drawn on to by a complete stranger, who we learn to be Charlotte (Lottie), a young hop picker whose family help Liza's father out every summer.

Lottie has had tragedy in her own life, her sister died at a young age and was blind, which is how Lottie learned to 'finger speak'. Lottie is taken on to help Liza, and we never hear of 'Nanny' again, as Lottie teaches Liza more and more, their friendship blossoms into something beautiful and she is introduced to the rest of Lottie's family. She is particularly taken with Lottie's beloved brother Caleb. I could almost sense that this would have a major impact later on in the book, but I wasn't entirely sure how. I don't want to give anything away, but Caleb is pivotal to how the story ends and I guess in some way also, to the woman that Liza becomes.

The Visitors themselves are also crucial to how certain events play out, but again I don't want to give anything away. I'm not usually a fan of 'ghost' stories, but this novel was so much more...

I still can't quite believe that this is a debut novel as it is so well written. I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next!

You can purchase the Visitors from Amazon online and all good book shops.
 
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