I really enjoyed the dynamics between the two sisters, Alice and Becky, and how different they were. The author was great at creating memorable characters. Alice is more a dreamer, lost in her books than her sister who lives in the fast lane in the city.. There are a lot of literary references in the novel but these don't bog down the storyline. After moving to the Yorkshire Dales, Alice meets the handsome William. The descriptions were vivid and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the county that Alice moved to. It made me want to move there too! The plot slightly lost me in the middle as the paced slowed down considerably, but then picked up again to keep me on the edge of my seat, desperate to find out what was happening next.
As tragedy occurs, Alice is lost to as is what happening and who she can trust. She is using her experiences from reading books to try and understand the dramas that are happening around her. This part really gripped me and I felt for Alice. I did wish that the tension and romance between Alice and William could have developed more as I wasn't sure that I particularly liked William and was more routing for Alice to give up on him and find someone else.
Overall a powerful, chilling story that I enjoyed right until the end.
by Emily Williams
I have just finished ‘Perils of a Literary life’ which I read in 2 close sessions. This is my criterion of whether a book is gripping or not : would I mind if for any reason I was unable to finish the book ?
Yours certainly passed that test – I was intrigued to know how it would work out. The tension is very well maintained as the relationship develops. I felt that you had given us enough information about Alice’s character and her penchant for romantic dramatization to be pretty sure she would turn out to be a Catherine Morland type. Despite that, your climactic description of the climb up to the Strid and the confrontation there was very convincing – I could almost feel the mist of the waterfall all around, and Alice’s terror on her descent was powerfully described .
Alice is a very sympathetic and believable character – there is a bit of her in all of us ‘bookish’ people I think!
I really enjoyed your descriptions of the Yorkshire landscape. It was all very evocative. You obviously know it very well and love it.
Also great fun are all the literary quotations and allusions.
by Rosemary Piggott