Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Dual Time-Line #Histfic The Last Village by Audla English

The Last VillageThe Last Village by Audla English

3 stars

The Last Village is a dual time-line historical fiction and is written as a dedication to Marsden Village and the surrounding area.  The village was built by the Whitburn Coal Company in the 1870s and demolished ninety years later. The author also chose to use the Marsden Rock coastal setting to weave a family saga style narrative around a beautiful part of north east England.

The first story is about the life and loves of Lily, a young women growing up with her friends in 1945. The other side of the story, in 2017, is about Anna and her own discovery of her grandmother’s past life.

The author’s love of the area shines through and I liked the additional notes in the back of the book which explained the background. However, the writing style of an omniscient narrator ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ , i.e., giving information rather than letting the reader see it through the eyes of the characters, meant that I struggled to gain emotional empathy with them, as if I was watching the scenes through a window rather than getting to know them. I think if you know the area, then the book would have more meaning, but I need a book to grab me and make me feel really involved, caring about the people, and I didn’t get that with this story.

Overall an interesting insight into the history of the area, but it fell a little flat for me.

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Book description

A moving novel set in the North East of England. The Last Village is an enduring love story which spans the 1940’s and modern day, binding the generations.The majestic Souter Lighthouse stands proudly at the edge of the cliff top surrounded by open grassy empty fields and overlooking a vast blue wilderness. Anna Charles knows nothing of the life that her grandmother once had here.It wasn’t until an unexpected engagement, that Anna discovered the past of her Gran and the truth behind an enduring love.Seventy years earlier, Lillian Smith, had been part of the close-knit community that once thrived in the village that existed next to the lighthouse. A chance meeting with a sailor one day, would change the course of her life forever.

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