A Noteworthy Review

Book Review By Dennis George Hannant MBE

Having had no personal experience of mental issues or any kind of abuse myself, the hard hitting narrative of bullying, incest, mental illness, sexual and physical abuse, rocked me to the core and caused much racing of the heart and clamminess of the hands. However the author took each of these difficult subjects and wove them into a compelling and gripping story. 

Initially, I found the idea of a person (the main character, David Harper) arriving in a village, to find out that he had gone back some 40 odd years in time, without making a massive drama about it, a little improbable and the very detailed description of the village and its people in the first few chapters, a bit over the top. But as the story unfolded, I realised that David’s reaction was perfectly natural for him and the detail essential for the plot. There were many incidents and moments throughout the book, where I was shocked by David’s reaction, especially after people had been kind and helped him, but I was judging him against my own very lucky life experiences; in hindsight during the read, I realised that considering his life of abuse and mental illness, his actions were totally reasonable and understandable. 

This book is in three parts, which are fundamental for the twists and turns in this incredible story and the transition from each one to another, is achieved with word craft and skill of the highest order, which made me think, blimey that’s clever. I thought the sex scenes, both loving and otherwise were especially well written and expertly fitted into the story line. This is without doubt one of the best novels I have read in a very long time. A definite page turner, which was exciting to read, with the unexpected around every corner of the story, ‘The Curse of Beckett’s Wood’ is in my view, a worthy Booker Prize contender and would make an exceptionally good TV series or a Netflix or Amazon short film.

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