#bookreview The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016 

This a beautiful paperback published by Two Roads, with foil highlighting on front and back covers, and sprayed edges. 

From the inside cover:

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763. 

At nineteen, Anne Jaccob, the elder daughter of well-to-do parents, meets Fub the butcher’s apprentice and is awakened to the possibilities of joy and passion. Anne lives a sheltered life: her home is a miserable place and her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub. 

But Anne is an unusual young woman and is determined to pursue her own happiness in her own way… even if that means getting a little blood on her hands. 

My reading experience: 

What a crazy wonderful surprise to find that celebrity Janet Ellis of Blue Peter of yesteryear and of course, crazy amazing single parent to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, is an eloquent, elegant writer who pleases with richly descriptive prose and unique phrasing. Humour, disgust, and all the stuff in between, oozes from this book as if the very foredge is a fissure from which the blood and guts of her particular warm-blooded beast, seep out. 

This book is alive with meatiness so vegetarians beware. Meaty content, meaty characters, meaty story, meaty flesh and fresh butchered meat abound. 

London 1763 – summer. Can you imagine the stench of that? Dry dirt streets, excrement from horses and humans lining these pathways, food turning rotten in the heat, and unwashed people ripe with dirty clothes. Eighteenth century time travel anyone? This book transports you – sights and smells and society’s constrictions. 

Anyway, our protagonist Anne Jaccob lacking in parental love especially since the birth of baby Evelyn, shoved into the arms of a very unsuitable and morally unconscionable suitor, finds herself love-lorn and alone until she locks eyes with Fub, the Butcher boy. But this is more than a teenage-love story, or coming of age story. This is a tale of youthful misgivings and brutal, bloody, misguided tragedy. 

Absolute gold 5 ⭐️’s

About the Author:

Janet Ellis trained as an actress at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She is best known for presenting Blue Peter and contributes to numerous radio and TV programmes. 

A graduate of the Curtis Brown creative writing course, The Butcher’s Hook is her first novel, and she is currently working on her next.

In 2016 Janet was awarded an MBE for services to charities and theatre.

Available on Twitter … @missjanetellis @TwoRoadsBooks 

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