Tag Archives: #GwendolineRiley

Notes from the 2017 Bailey’s Prize Ambassador: First Love by Gwendoline Riley

This was a real pace change from the first two books sent to me by the Reading Agency, it is a slender book with lots of white spaces – both on the cover and surrounding the text. I changed my reading style for this book by instinct. Usually I am a fast reader, swallowing books whole but something in this one made me slow down, to read each section then take a pause and I think that this made the book better.

The story is slight, it is about Neve and her relationship with her husband. On a quick read it seems that she is in a bad relationship – one that borders on being abusive and your sympathy is all with her. As you read on however you see that in this case the situation is quite as black and white as you’d think, Neve does come with her own baggage.

On the whole I admire this book without loving it. It doesn’t excuse domestic abuse but in some ways it does apologise for it – and I don’t like this.  For a small book this packs a deceptive punch and while it isn’t one that I’ll return to I think that it does deserve its place on the Bailey’s Shortlist as it is fresh and different.

Sarah

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