Article published on December 1, 2015.
Debut author Joanna Cannon has managed to write one of my favourite books of 2016 with The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and, at the time of writing, it’s still only 2015. It won’t just be me – this is set to pull on the heartstrings of many in the way that Harold Fry did but with even more emotional insight, not to mention the irrepressible humour of the two child stars of the story, Grace and Tilly.
Set on a housing estate somewhere in Birmingham in the mid-1970s it’s about prejudice and repercussions, the secrets people hold on to, and the lies they tell themselves – and each other.
When Mrs Creasy disappears Grace and Tilly decide she must be found, whatever the consequences. Their investigations take them into the houses of The Avenue, revealing the lives of the people around them and slipping back nine years every so often, to a significant time in 1967 when a decision was made that would divide and conquer this particular set of nosy neighbours.
It’s incredibly well written – a subtle beginning gradually builds to an end that packs a serious emotional punch. You might find yourself looking at your neighbours differently after reading this…in a good way. I loved it and am recommending it to everyone.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, published by The Borough Press on 28 January, 2016
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