The Bellwether Revivals, by Benjamin Wood

Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin WoodThis is the first published novel by one of my Birkbeck tutors.

And, because the author is one of my tutors, I was nervous before I read it. What if I didn’t like it?

I needn’t have worried.

The story is crackingly good and involves a lowly care worker, Oscar, who falls under the spell of the Bellwether family. Specifically, he falls in love with Iris Bellweather and becomes enmeshed with her charismatic brother, Eden.

The story is set in the University and City of Cambridge and its themes include sibling relationships, cross-generational friendship, the healing power of music, the class divide, an insight into a fascinating personality disorder and, as all good stories should, a dash of romance.

The story opens with a “prelude” that is actually a preface for the ending. Without giving too much away, I must warn you: the ending is terribly sad.

What I liked about the book: the depth of the main characters, the humour, the dialogue, the description of the music, the interesting themes, the unexpected twists and the drama of the ending.

What I didn’t like about the book: some of the characters were sketchily drawn (the mother, for example) and I wanted to know more about them. The ending was terribly sad (nothing wrong with that) but rather abrupt. I had a sense of unfinished business.

I have a hard-back copy and the cover is a gorgeous midnight-blue colour, with a ghostly musical score in the background. But the best thing about the cover is this: it has an unexpectedly wonderful, velvety texture. People who are dubious about e-books, talk about wanting to hold the physical object in their hands. The hard copy of this book is definitely worth holding, if just for the glorious, sensuous feel of the thing.


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