Fell – Jenn Ashworth
When a book speaks to you in such beautiful prose as in Fell by Jenn Ashworth you know that it is worth savouring every word on every page. This is a stunning atmospheric and haunting tale set on the Morecambe Bay coastline. Like the shifting sands of the bay this story moves from the past to the present day.
Annette Clifford returns to the long abandoned family home she has now inherited, the house has been empty now for some time and mother nature has long since moved in to claim it as her own with two Sycamore trees and the ever present gregarious starlings. There is something spooky and creepy about the house that was her parent’s home. Now the spirits of her parents have woken at the arrival of their daughter Annette. The past was a painful experience and now the spirits of her parents want to make some sort of amends for this. A haunting tale that moves from the early 1960’s to the present day a story that is narrated by the spirits of her parents.
In the story we find out about the character Timothy Richardson who moved into the family home in 1963 a real mysterious man who claimed to have healing powers. At the time Annette’s mother (Netty) was very poorly. But there is something about Timothy and his reasons for want to stay in the house. There was something sinister in Timothy and I came to loathe his presence in the story. Yet he is a leading character yet I so wanted him out of the house. I just became totally hooked on the outstanding writing of Jenn Ashworth and her beautiful way she moves the story like the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay. Little moments of life at that time come to life in the storyline like the can of warm cola just add to the beauty of Fell.
There are moments of real disturbing scenes when we are back in time and Timothy is bringing back to life dead rabbits and the moment when he manages to get Netty to bring up a never ending tide of salty sea water is a little squeamish to say the least. But Timothy presence seems to shape the lives in the household while not really aiding the ailing Netty. Why is he here? What does he want? So the spirits of Annette’s parents have woken to try and find the words to speak to their daughter. Fell is an astonishing book and knowing the area well I knew this was going to speak to me in through the landscape as well as the words and I deliberately left the book on my desk to read in December and if you have not yet read Fell this is the month to read it. It comes into to its own at this time of year. It is mysterious and mystic and dark and the landscape all plays its part in the perfect wintertime story. Fabulous.
Thank you to Nikki Barrow at Sceptre for the advanced review copy.
Fell by Jenn Ashworth is published by Sceptre and is available through all good bookshops.