Monday, 24 March 2014

Review - Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

WOW! I've always loved Isabel Wolff's writing but this book was in a class of its own.  Completely incredible!

Ghostwritten comes out on 27th March, but I was incredibly lucky and offered a copy to review a few months ago.  Here's the blurb about the book:

"She listens to everyone else’s story, but can she find her own?

Perfect for fans of Tenko and The Railway Man

A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets.

Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own.

Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell.

But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?

Gripping, poignant and beautifully researched, Ghostwritten is a story of survival and love, of memory and hope."

So, what did I think?

As a child I occasionally stole a glance at the programme Tenko but was quite young at the time and I didn't really understand it, so it didn't really mean a lot to me.  This book completely opened up my eyes and showed me the despicable, horrendous things that happened to families that I had no idea about. Perhaps now I have a child of my own, it made it more real to me. 

I read most of the book with tears streaming down my face, feeling every single emotion of the characters than were in the book.  I was a complete emotional wreck. 

I was completely torn between not wanting to read more about the awful atrocities that these people suffered yet I was intrigued and compelled to read on to find out what was going to happen.  I loved the way that the book swapped between then and now and found Klara to be such an interesting character.  I also found myself wanting to shout at Jenni to let go of the ghosts in her life.  I got completely lost in this book and lost all sense of reality. 

Isabel's writing in all of her books has always been brilliant but this one felt different to me.  It was deeper and more emotional than I've ever known her write before.  I've adored Isabel's writing since I discovered her books and this time she has completely and utterly excelled herself. 

This was such an incredibly powerful novel.  One that will stay with me for the rest of my life and be in my heart forever.  

About the author
Born in Warwickshire, Isabel read English at Cambridge and after working in both the theatre and in advertising, she began to work at the BBC where she spent twelve very happy years at BBC World Service radio both producing and reporting in the Features department and in Current Affairs, and she also wrote freelance articles for newspapers and mags.  She was commissioned to write a column - Tiffany Trott - which along with Harper Collins developed into her first novel The Trials of Tiffany Trott, a hilariously funny book which introduced me to the world of Isabel Wolff.  I have since gone on to read all her other novels – and enjoyed every single one - have I mentioned I’m a fan?

Click here to buy Ghostwritten from Amazon. 

For more information about Isabel and her work, please take a look at her website

You can also "follow Isabel on Twitter" or "like her Facebook page" with these links. 


Karen said...

Great review :o)

I loved Tenko, it left a lasing impression on me, and this book sounds fabulous - very different to her previous books. It's going on my 'to read' pile!

Chris Stovell said...

I love Isabel's novels - I've preordered this and I' m so looking forwards to reading it!

Kim The Book Worm said...

You won't regret it ladies x

Claire McC said...

Wow, what a wonderful review, Kim. Another one of your recommendations I'm really looking forward to reading. I clearly remember my mum being an avid fan of Tenko.

Anonymous said...

A brilliant review on what sounds like an incredibly powerful book. This is the first review of this one I've read and I'm now very keen to read it so thank you for sharing!