Thursday 8 May 2014

Review: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Picador
Release date: 27 March 2014
Rating: ****
Back cover blurb: San Francisco, 1876: a stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic have engulfed the City. Deep in the streets of Chinatown live three former stars of the Parisian circus: Blanche, now an exotic dancer at the House of Mirrors, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest. When an eccentric outsider joins their little circle, secrets unravel, changing everything – and leaving one of them dead. Frog Music, inspired by true events, is an evocative novel of intrigue and murder: elegant, erotic and witty.

Frog Music is a novel that has been on my 'to read' list for what feels like ages. It's the first novel I've read by Emma Donoghue, but I have since bought Room as I enjoyed Frog Music so much.

Frog Music is essentially a work of historical fiction combined with crime novel, involving the murder of Jenny Bonnet at Eight Mile house  in San Francisco.

Jenny's murder is witnessed by our main protagonist Blanche Beunon. The pair are in hiding from Blanche's ex-lover Arthur Deneve and his best friend Ernest.

Blanche is convinced that the bullet that killed Jenny was meant instead for her and the narrative at the end of the opening chapter reverts to a flash back of Blanche and Jenny's unlikely first meeting. Blanche, a burlesque dancer and prostitute is unused to female company and has never had a female friend before, but there is something about Jenny that makes Blanche want to befriend her.

Keen to know Blanche's life story, Jenny is reluctant to reveal her own, but soon has Blanche questioning her profession, relationship and facing hidden secrets from her past. 

It is this questioning that leads Blanche on a journey of discovery, but she is not prepared for what she will find and how it will change her life forever.

Frog Music is based on true life characters and events but Emma Donoghue adds her own unique take and makes it feel like a true work of fiction.

Frog Music is available from Amazon online and all good book shops.

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Thank you to the publishers who approved my request on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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