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Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Unseeing Book Review



Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola's THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.

'With this intricately woven tale of trust, self-trust and deceit, Anna Mazzola brings a gritty realism to Victorian London. Beautifully written and cleverly plotted, this is a stunning debut, ranked amongst the best' MANDA SCOTT 

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she's hiding something, but needs to discover just why she's maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?


Was extremely ecstatic to receive a copy of this via BookBridgr, as the cover and the blurb just sounded right up my alley - and it was!!

This turned out to be one of those books I was very happy to lose sleep over as I just couldn't put it down once I'd started.  Astonishing to find out it was the authors' debut novel, and I'll be extremely interested in following her career if this is anything to go by!

Sarah Gale is the main thread (ooh a sewing pun! sorry!) of this story and we meet her in 1837 as she arrives at Newgate Prison as she is sentenced to hang for her part in being complicit in the gruesome murder of Hannah Brown which has shocked London.  This story is a work of fiction based on fact, and this really adds to the depth of the storyline, and there is even a link in the back of the book to the actual trial transcript online so I'll definitely be reading those!

Edmund Fleetwood is then set the task of investigating the case further as Sarah pleads for mercy for the sake of her son George, and despite her reluctance to share anymore details on what happened on the night of the murder, Edmund is drawn into her world and does all he can to try and save her from death

Victorian London is beautifully described throughout the book so you can understand the bleakness of the time, and how dark life was for many with talk of workhouses and the public executions drawing huge crowds.

Why is Sarah so reluctant to say more of what happened on that night when her lover, James Greenacre, allegedly killed Hannah? As the reader, you learn of the rather bleak relationship she had with him so you begin to wonder if he has threatened her to keep quiet. Edmund seems to think there's a lot more to the story than Sarah is letting on, and it is fascinating to see how he goes about trying to get to the bottom of the matter in his quest for the truth.

I highly recommend this for all those who love a mix of historical fiction and crime as it's the perfect combination of both!  A book that will stay with me for a long time!

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