Lowborn

Kerry Hudson. Vintage. (256p) ISBN 9781784708603

Lowborn

Lowborn

I first heard Kerry talk at a Vintage Roadshow at Forum Books, Corbridge before Christmas, this didn’t put me off though 😉 and I was really fascinated by the concept of Lowborn.

Earlier this year I went to another Vintage Roadshow and was pleased to be able to pick up an advance copy of Lowborn.

It didn’t disappoint. It had me in tears, angry, upset, sad, but also laughing a lot due to the humour that came through.

It’s taken me a while (and a second reading, well worth it) to get my thoughts together to write this review.

The voice in this book is so honest, and due to my own past, familiar. Kerry writes about her past in some of the poorest communities in the UK, growing up in a family that doesn’t conform to the norms as seen in all the media that children consume and having to survive and hopefully grow from this. Then once she has gotten out, returning to explore emotions, personal history, and memories.

There is a lot of wry humour in this book, but by far it is the raw imagery of a past coloured by emotional and financial difficulties, both systematic and familial, that took me straight back to my own childhood and will have you fearful for the child in the ‘story’ and all the other children in stories like this all over the country now.

The return to these communities is a huge emotional commitment and again is approached with wry humour and introspection, but also massive bravery. It hurts to have to explore the past like this.


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The Titanic Detective Agency

Lindsay Littleson. Cranachan Publishing. (200p) ISBN 9781911279440

The Titanic Detective Agency

The Titanic Detective Agency

Though the story does come with a well-known ending, The Titanic Detective Agency explores the story of the Titanic from a different angle.

This is the story of Bertha and her dreams, travelling from Aberdeen to America she has to fill her time and sets up the titular detective agency. Mysteries, treasure maps, friendship, and family relationships are at the core of this well-written and fast-paced story.

Lindsay brings the Titanic to life through the eyes and mind of children on their own adventures.

The foreshadowing of the inevitable tragedy is peppered throughout the book, but my favourite is the tea-leaf reading scene early on and not only because my nan’s surname is Toomey.

The class divisions are writ large throughout the book as well, making it difficult for the protagonists at times.

A wonderful middle-grade historical novel which gives a fresh take on a well-worn story, well-paced with great characters.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review by Cranachan Publishing.


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The Short Story of Film

Ian Haydn Smith. Orion. (224p) ISBN 9781786275639

The Short Story of Film

The Short Story of Film

The Short Story of Film is a brilliantly concise review of film and film theory that explains quite a lot I didn’t know about this area of the arts.

Broken into four areas covering genres, key films, movements, and techniques with each section giving a bite-sized explanation of the area being covered this is another great book from Laurence King Publishing.

Each article is an easily digested read, the perfect book to dip in and out of, a great bedside book. Though I didn’t do that this time as I really wanted to read through and it’s also a great read as a single sitting.

Though I would have liked a bit more explanation in some areas there was enough information to explain the aspect of film theory being written about and enough direction for you to explore further if you wanted to.

Really enjoyed this clear and compact book on film theory.

I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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The Whispers

Greg Howard. Penguin Random House. (256p) ISBN 9780241367087

The Whispers

The Whispers

I received an advanced copy of this from Penguin and was so happy when it arrived.

I had been hearing whispers (…) of this book on Book Twitter for a while and wanted to see for myself what it was about.

We follow Riley James through what at first seems like a sci-fi/fantasy story with old mysteries of the local wood hanging heavily over everything.

As we go through the story we find that Riley’s mum is missing and he will do anything to find her, including giving a tribute to the mysterious creatures who live in the woods.

We also explore Riley’s sexuality and this is done in a gentle way, gradually being introduced as a ‘condition’ that God despises.

A wonderful book full of surprises, twists and turns. Exploring loss, wonder, belief, homosexuality in rural USA, and grief.

There was many a time I was in tears but just couldn’t look away from The Whispers.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.