As I finish reading "Chrysalis" by Jeremy Welch, I can't help but recalling this quote: "He Who Saves Just one Life Saves The World Entire" (from the Jewish Talmud). This book vividly describes the red light district of Amsterdam, as the main character Sebastian, fed up with the materialistic grind of London, escapes to find himself, by attempting in writing his first novel, and becoming involved with his new surroundings. Unknowingly he rents a place, which happens to be where he is able to observe and form relationships with the people living at the fringe of society. Non-judgmentally, with passion and compassion he learns of the fate and course of prostitution, victims of human trafficking, as well as the Spiegletent (a cabaret type circus), who become his friends and muses. The hopelessness of the victims of human trafficking is expressed through the voice and passion of a man that wants to help.
by Keren Krinick (via NetGalley)
The book has it all, humour, emotion, suspense and Action. Very well written and very enjoyable to read. Thoroughly recommended.
by Stephen Dickinson
Welch tells a great story. It starts slowly and then speeds up to a final reveal that surprised me. By the end it is running fast, so stay with it for the ride.
You want to know more as you read as Welch develops the action. Many of the characters are memorable. Rosie and the twins are perfectly formed.
For me, the best parts of the book are set in Amsterdam. You feel like you are there and involved in the action. The lives of performers are captured along with what they care about.
A great first book and look forward to the next one.
A great read that builds to a surprising reveal. Hold on for the ride.
You feel you are in Amsterdam and emotionally involved with the troupe. The main character,Sebastian, evolves as a person and Rosie and the twins are perfectly formed.
Can't wait for Welch's next one.
by Oliver Berry
Just finished this and loved every page. Beautifully descriptive and wonderful characterization. You don't so much as read this but take part in it, as an extra / cast member of its imagined dramatization.
It would make a wonderful film or screenplay and builds to a thrilling climactic conclusion. Let's hope we haven't seen or heard the last of Sebastian, Umuntu and the rest of the Spiegeltent family - a sequel is begging!
Utterly new fresh style - got lost in the depths of a fascinating story which kept me hooked throughout. The detailed observations of people interactions simply wonderful. Order kick back and enjoy!
Chrysalis works as a title for this book on many levels, and recognises the need to change when moving through the different stages of our lives. The book shows how these evolutions interact not just for the main protagonist, Sebastian, but also for those around him. Set against the context of the red-light district of Amsterdam and human-trafficking it is a book that not only enthralled me but made me consciously think about those in circumstances of which I know little. One has to ask oneself where the ideas for this book came from, as reality is always stranger than fiction. Life is not always as it seems! Looking forward to Jeremy’s next . . .
by David Denholm
Sebastian is an interesting character who initially I wasn't sure I was going to like, but through the personal journey he takes in this novel, the reader sees another side to him. With wonderful descriptions and dialogue, Welch manages to bring not only the intriguing streets of Amsterdam to life but also the diverse range of people that Sebastian encounters while there. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading future books from this author.
by Toni N
Jeremy Welch’s ambitious first novel provides a rich narrative peppered with black humour, burlesque and parody despite its sometimes dark content. Occasionally cinematic in feel, Amsterdam, with all its paradoxes, is vividly brought to life as are an unorthodox and fascinatingly colourful cast of characters. The author successfully delivers the hard-hitting and uncompromising writing necessary for the story’s disturbing main plot line whilst also displaying a deftness of touch when delineating the story’s other theme of the liberating nature of love in all its guises. Its pace is periodically reflective, occasionally frenetic but always absorbing and at the novel’s redemptive conclusion, the reader is broadsided by a most unusual and unexpected twist in the tale.
You’ll race through this book, so it’s most definitely a title for your summer holiday reading list but also, given its unflinching look at the sex trade and sex slavery in the West, it will provide your book clubs with plenty to discuss and debate.
by Madeleine Hepworth
I read this book months ago and am almost ready to read it again. It’s a brilliant debut, a thouroughly original story and a gripping read. Well done to Jeremy Welch. Five stars.