Sunday, 17 April 2016

Review - Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg

Foxlowe is the debut novel by Eleanor Wasserberg and it was a book that I was so happy to be offered the chance to review by the team over at Lovereading after I completely fell for the book thanks to a brilliant description. The novel itself had quite an unusual premise but this wasn’t a bad thing as it quite literally opened my eyes to a whole new world and also was incredibly thought-provoking. I really appreciate books like this and feel certain that Foxlowe is going to be incredibly successful. 

Narrated by Green, Foxlowe tells the story about a group of people of all ages and genders who come together to form a cult. Discouraged from leaving the grounds of the house in which they all live due to their belief that only bad and evil things await, the children - Green, Toby and Blue - are all quite protective of one another but live very sheltered lives and are not even permitted to go to school. Regardless of their age, all of the inhabitants believe in the power of the Solstice and the sun eliminating everything that is bad. They've lived this way for many years and it certainly, at first, appears that nothing can tear the unit apart until one day people start to leave. What happens when everything and everyone Green knows is taken away from and her and she is forced to leave the place she’s always called home behind and go out to fend for herself in the real world? Can she make it? 

First of all I have to say that the cast of characters that we meet throughout Foxlowe turn this novel into something that is quite special and one that I could quite easily see being turned into a successful film. I particularly warmed to Green, Toby and Blue in this novel and felt sorry for them all as it was quite clear that they had no choice about whether or not they wanted to be there but didn’t have the power to change anything about their living arrangements. Also they were subjected to some truly awful punishments throughout the novel, thanks to Freya who ruled the roost like a complete dictator - I couldn’t honestly understand the way in which Green in particular looked up to and seemed to worship her. 

Eleanor’s writing style was something that I grew to love with every page I turned and I found that it greatly added to the drama and tension that was present throughout the novel. Furthermore I thought that her writing was beautifully descriptive to the point where I could really visualise everything that was being described throughout the novel, which led to me sometimes feeling like I was there with the characters, seeing and experiencing everything that they were. In this respect I never felt like an outsider looking in!

I also couldn’t write this review without mentioning the cover very briefly which uses a limited range of colours but is simply stunning and incredibly effective. It definitely draws the reader in, adds to the element of mystery and certainly made me want to find out as much as I possibly could about Foxlowe. 

Once I was fully immersed in the world of Foxlowe I found that I didn’t ever want to leave it. It’s a book that raises a number of questions and has left me feeling extremely fortunate to have the life I do - where I’ve been free to form my own opinions on things instead of being brainwashed by my parents and where I’ve not been kept a prisoner but have instead been offered the opportunities like others my own age. I’ve never read a book quite like Foxlowe before and, although at times the physical punishments were a bit uncomfortable to read, I know it’s not a book that I will forget in a hurry. I’m really hopeful that we’ll see more written by Eleanor in the future and believe that she’s definitely an author to look out for!