Herring Girl

Debbie Taylor. Oneworld (PGW, dist.), $16.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-1-78074-538-1
Part historical thriller and part emotional drama, Taylor’s (The Fourth Queen) novel tells a complicated story of two inhabitants from the same a British fishing town separated by almost a century. At 12 years old, Ben already knows that he prefers putting on makeup to playing soccer. He feels like “his body’s a coat that belongs to someone else.” As soon as his father leaves for work, he changes into the girl’s clothing he keeps hidden under his bed. Desperate to talk to someone, he seeks out Laura, a kind transsexual who runs a salon and website that gives advice and support to other transsexuals and transvestites. When Laura introduces Ben to Mary, a psychotherapist who specializes in past life regression, they find Annie, a herring girl who lived in the same town in 1898. Through hypnosis, Ben is able to relate much of Annie’s life with stunning historical and linguistic accuracy—her budding romance with a young fisherman, Sam, her friendship with the gorgeous Flo, and her sudden, violent death. Mary, Laura, and Ben decide to find the cause of Annie’s death using hypnosis therapy and public records. The novel alternates between time periods as Mary ushers them from the present to 1898 and back, and picks up steam toward its conclusion. Although the prose is rudimentary at times, this is an engaging and detailed historical mystery. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 947 pages - 978-1-78074-493-3
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