I was delighted to receive a review copy of Rosy Thornton's latest novel Ninepins - sent by Rosy herself.
Rosy made a guest appearance on this blog last year, when I reviewed her last book The Tapestry of Love, you can read that review and Rosy's Q&A session here.
Ninepins was published on 19 April 2012 and is Rosy's fifth novel, and her first to be published by Sandstone Press.
The story is set in the Cambridgeshire Fens, and the Ninepins of the title is home to single-mother Laura and her 12 year old daughter Beth. Laura and Beth have been alone since Beth's father Simon left when she was just a small baby. Laura earns a little extra income by renting out the pumphouse in her garden as student accommodation. Her latest tenant is 17 year old Willow, a care-leaver with something of a mysterious past.
Rosy Thornton is expert at creating a real sense of place with her words, the vast and desolate, yet beautiful Fens of Cambridgeshire are brought to life in this story, the reader can almost feel the chill and the damp air when reading her description of the landscape.
Descriptive scenery however, are not her only gift; her creation of three very different, yet extremely strong female characters is excellent. Laura, Beth and Willow; the adult, the teen and the child are the perfect cast of characters to play out what is often a fairly tense story. Beth's anguish as she starts secondary school and encounters the 'politics' of pre-pubescent girls is at times heart-breaking, and although it is well over 30 years since I experienced those feelings myself Rosy's writing really did bring some quite harsh memories back. Beth's internal battles with herself - whether to appear 'cool' to her new peers or to obey her mother Laura are so so real, as are Laura's feelings when she realises that her little girl is growing up and no longer is she the centre of her world.
Add Willow, with her vulnerability covered by harsh words to this mix and Rosy Thornton has served up a novel with many themes.
I enjoyed Ninepins very much, it is very different in style to The Tapestry of Love, showing the diversity of Rosy Thornton's writing ability.
I wish her lots of luck with Ninepins and really hope that it gets the wide readership that it deserves. My thanks go to Rosy for sending me a copy of Ninepins for review.