Monday, November 27, 2017

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse


I really can’t understand the 4/5 stars reviews for this book. For starters, this author must have bunked the lecture on show and tell, because there was no showing at all. This made for a one-dimensional plot and flat cardboard characters. There was a good deal of head-hopping and some glaring grammatical errors. The writing came over as a tad immature and had the subject matter not been quite so disturbing, it could easily have been written for a pre-adult audience.


The story is set in the early 1960s, but you’d never have guessed. The attitudes and dialogue were more Victorian than mid-twentieth century.

Fifteen-year-old twins, Duncan and Maisy, are sent to their cold and unfeeling grandmother after their equally cold and unfeeling father commits their unwell mother to an asylum. With no help from Grandmother, they have to settle into their new surroundings and find new friends. One of these is Grace Deville, a woman who lives alone in the woods and about whom some unkind things are said.

One day, Duncan goes missing…the prospect of his return is diminished when boys of his age are found dead in the area. With the police not being exactly proactive, it falls on Maisy to stay strong and believe her brother will be found. 

I was extremely irritated by Pearse’s constant reference to Duncan and Maisy as ‘the twins’. ‘The twins’ are not an entity, they are two people…they are Duncan and Maisy. Pearse wouldn’t have referred to two different aged siblings as ‘brother and sister’ all the time. Twins aren’t a unit (I have twins and twin grandchildren), they are two separate people and like to be known as such. Pearse obviously has no experience of twins or she wouldn’t have made this dreadfully annoying faux pas. 

The plot concept is sound enough, but Pearse doesn’t handle it very well and it all became a bit silly. 

My first read by this author and I’m afraid to say, my last.



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