Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma

Excellent. Buy it.

Do I need to say more?

Oh, ok then. This is not my usual sort of read at all but I was utterly gripped by this superbly written tale of farming folk from around 150 years or so ago.

Gideon moves from Bath due to something his Father did (slowly revealed as the book goes on and I won’t ruin that) to the rural countryside where his uncle is a sheep farmer. Resentment, anger and occasionally outright hostility meet him as he has to get used to a new way of life far removed from his scholarly existence in Bath.

Gideon’s father, Thomas, takes Gideon on long walks and tells him the history of the Orme – the hill they now live in the shadow of. His stories are wonderful and I feel are best left for the reader to discover – again, no spoilers.

The whole thing is beautifully written. There is a simplicity and brevity to Sharma’s prose which makes this an easy read, but this serves to let the characters breathe. They all feel like real people: petty, spiteful,  jealous, angry, tired, worn down and loving. That’s all the characters too, not just Gideon and his father who are the main protagonists.

The only criticism I can level at this is it’s too short.

Go buy it.

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