Review published on December 7, 2017.
The main story here is set in 1979 in Wales, where sisters Verity and Meredith live with their rather bohemian artist mother. Meredith finds an old sewing box that, when opened, seems to release the ghost of Angharad, a girl from Victorian times. Meredith starts to hear and become obsessed by Angharad’s horrifying story.
It is a poignant and sad story told in several voices, which sometimes feels confusing, although this is helped by the use of italics for Angharad’s voice and by the chapters narrated by the adult Verity being headed “present”. The interwoven stories work well though at times I did just want to get on with the main story of the sisters’ life.
The prose has a magical and lyrical quality, which gives a fairy tale or slightly Gothic feel to the book. While I admired and enjoyed this, I felt it was slightly overdone and would have welcomed more contrast, especially when hearing about Verity, the more practical sister who wants to be a librarian. Carol Lovekin uses myths and spells to enhance the mystical elements and atmosphere of enchantment, but there is also a compelling narrative about the relationship between the sisters.
Berwyn Peet 4/3
Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin
Honno Welsh Women’s Press 9781909983700 pbk Sep 2017
SECOND OPINION: The Last Hours by Minette Walters