I can’t believe The Unseeing had been sitting on my Netgalley shelf for so long (I’m not going to confess just how long … ). I had a serious book hangover after reading this, taking me ages to get into my next read purely because my thoughts kept going back to MC Sarah and Edward. An outstanding weaving of fiction and fact, you really don’t want to miss The Unseeing!
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1577 KB
Print Length: 402 pages
Publisher: Tinder Press (14 July 2016)
Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola’s THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.
‘A twisting tale of family secrets and unacknowledged desires. Intricately plotted and extremely convincing in its evocation of the everyday realities of 1830s London, this is a fine first novel’ – The Sunday Times
After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?
The Unseeing had me intrigued from the beginning. With Hannah Brown laying injured and dying, footsteps approach and Hannah leaves the reader with a thought that sets the theme for the story.
Using fact (newspaper reports/court records) and blending fiction, Anna Mazzola has brought to life not only the crime involving Sarah Gale and James Greenacre but the time it’s set in as well. From the heckling of Sarah Gale on her way to Newgate Prison in March 1837 until that last page, I was engrossed. Every page hooked me and drew me in deeper. I was addicted! It wasn’t just because I wanted to find out what Sarah was hiding. The nuances of the relationships between the characters, my emotional hook with Sarah and Edmund, life in prison and Victorian London became my world. Edmund’s deadline and the threat of what happens if he can’t find the truth sets a nail-biting pace. This isn’t a book I could put down – I always wanted to know more!
Although I didn’t work out the secret Sarah was hiding, I did work out one particular thread (mainly because of a thought that Edward had) and wondered what the repercussions would be. The despair and failure was exactly how I thought it would be. I still can’t make up my mind about one character – was it the ultimate hold over someone else or a sacrifice for love? The gift given leads me to believe a perpetuation of fear. I wonder what you will think.
I loved the darkness and depravity of this story. The legal/prison system weighs you down as does the public’s enjoyment of the macabre. I enjoy experiencing the shadow side of life vicariously in novels and The Unseeing is rich and beautiful in portraying this. There is hope! I was so relieved at Edward’s decision. Anna Mazzola shares the fact of what happened afterwards which I found uplifting.
The Unseeing is a thought provoking read on many levels. It’s one of my top reads of 2017 and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
It’s a Keeper
Connect with Anna Mazzola
I’m using my review of The Unseeing as part of my reading challenge : A book with an unreliable narrator