Monday, 16 November 2015

Redemption Road - Lisa Ballantyne

The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she's spent her life remembering little - her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life?
Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness.

I have to admit that the title of this book put me off reading it for a while. It was on my to be read list and it came around to the top so I decided to read it. Straight away I thought - why did I not read this sooner! I was gripped from the beginning, both by the plot and the wonderful writing.

The story flits between 2013 and 1985 with two very different tales, which you deduce must somehow tie together. There are a few red herrings along the way which meant I didn't quite get the ending right.

Although I could see where the story was going, I kept reading as the characters are brilliant and I really want to know what happened to them in their respective timelines. One thing I think that is hard for a writer to do is write a character's accent. Lisa Ballantyne pulled this off - I could hear the Scottish accent but it wasn't written so precisely that I couldn't understand what it meant.

Yet another book I've read where the tale is told from two different sides - what the papers and public think have happened and what actually happened, a really clever plot device. We also get to meet well developed characters from very different walks of life,  gangland families, a mechanic, and a journalist who is a devout man of God.

I have only one gripe with the book - and that is perhaps due to my having a fairly good knowledge of places and their location in the UK. A drive from Newcastle to York even by back roads would not take the time given in the book. To arrive in the Black Country and then be at Mam Tor in the Peak District is a little weird and any bus that goes from Leek, to Ashbourne, Buxton and then Hanley is going a very long way round and back on itself - to many it probably won't be spotted, but when you know the area it is annoying and spoils the reading.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars, despite the bad route planning!

My thanks go to netgalley for a free e copy of the book to review.

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