Title: Sugar and Snails
Author: Anne Goodwin
Genre: Literary fiction
How I got the book: The author gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Summary (from Amazon):
The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …
At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.
To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.
Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.
This book was confusing at first, I have to admit.
The writing style was easy to read, though it does jump from the past to the present a lot. The only indication of these time jumps were page breaks. There were no dates involved so you just needed to use context clues to figure out whether that scene happened then or now. However, you get used to it and it never really disrupted the flow of the story. In fact, the two different stories made it more interesting to read.
I couldn’t quite figure out what the story was about. The summary doesn’t hint at much, other than that Diana, the protagonist, has a deeply buried secret. I couldn’t even figure out what the title had to do with anything.
It’s not until you’re 200-or-so pages into the novel that a sudden lightbulb appears above your head. You know exactly what’s going on and everything that was mentioned before that point makes complete sense now.
Anne Goodwin tells this story in such a way to keep the readers guessing, wondering, what did Diana possibly do 30 years ago that’s made her to be like this? It’s a secret to most of the characters as well as to the reader. Even when I did figure it out, the story didn’t come right out and say it. I had just enough information to piece it together myself, which I found to be very clever.Overall,
Overall, this novel was well-written, intriguing, and kept my attention, especially towards the end. The characters were well developed and easy to follow. Also, when I had about five chapters left, I finally figured out what the title meant.The novel as a whole was so well crafted.
The novel as a whole was so well crafted. I feel as though I can’t say too much because then I would be giving the whole premise away, but this is an important book that I would recommend to anyone.
Sugar and Snails gets 4 out of 5 stars.
“We all crave acceptance, and we get it where we can.” –Anne Goodwin, Sugar and Snails
About the Author:
Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and has been scribbling stories ever since she could hold a pencil. During her career as an NHS clinical psychologist her focus was on helping other people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size.
Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, is scheduled for May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 60 published short stories and was recently awarded First Prize in the Writers’ Bureau short story competition. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.