This is another one that is so incredibly hard to review; I feel like I've putting it off for forever.
It's a difficult book to synopsise (is that a word?), but I'll have a go without giving away too many plot spoiling details..
Born a gentleman, but fell on hard times, Jacob Cullen and his brothers were raised as servants in a large house. As the book opens, Jacob is helping to search the lake for a missing girl. But they find another body instead, one that Jacob isn't truly suprised to find there, afterall, thats where he left it. For a while it looks like Jacob could get away with murder, and things may actually be turning out happily for him.. Then everything goes wrong, and he ends up fleeing the manor house. He joins up with Cromwells army, a pretty sorry lot it has to be said. But Jacob manages to find friendship in a fellow soldier; Ferris, and they end up deserting the army together.
Jacob Cullen is a truly messed up character. He is capable of so much love, and it is impossible not to care for him as a character. But he has so much violence bottled up inside of him, and when something angers him, it just all comes spilling out and he doesn't give a seconds thought to the consequences. But Jacob is never able to outrun the fallout of his violent attacks, sooner or later each action catches up with him. It's truly heartbreaking to watch.
It would be so much easier if I could hate Jacob, but I can't.. The power of Maria McCann's writing is such that from the first chapter, I was completely on Jacobs side, for better or for worse. And I had to stand by and watch while his emotions and violence ate up his life and the lives of those around him, and I couldn't do a thing to stop it, but I couldn't stop reading.
This is a book that will tear you up inside, you will love it and hate it, you will cry tears of joy and sadness, you might want to shout some sense into Jacob, you might hate him, or you may want to wrap him in cotton and try to protect him from the world and himself. But you cannot stop reading!
One of the best books I have read this year. See my reviews of Maria McCann's other novels:The Wildling