Monday 6 August 2018

Book review : Bone Deep - Sandra Ireland

After falling out with her family (after falling in love with her sister's boyfriend Reuben), Lucie needs a fresh start and takes a job as a Girl Friday for historian and novelist, Dr Margarita Muir, better known as Mac, in a small cottage next to a creaking, sinister, disused watermill. One of her main jobs is typing up the handwritten stories, based on local folklore, that Mac is compiling into a book, including one that focuses, uncannily, on the betrayal, jealousy and dastardly deeds of two sisters. When Reuben reappears in her life and Mac seems to be getting more and more delusional, Lucie needs to reconcile past and present, as well as fact and fiction, with shocking consequences.

Written in a dual narrative over a twelve-month period, with the two women narrating alternate chapters, the novel examines timeless human emotions, such as rivalry and possessive love, which draw together the three narratives : Lucie's, Mac's and the ancient ballad of the Two Sisters, which  is a genuine Northumbrian murder ballad that recounts the tale of a girl drowned by her sister and that first appeared in 1656 as "The Miller and the King's Daughter." I love the way the folk tale is brought up to date and linked into the contemporary tales of the two very different women.

There are no huge surprises - I did work out most of the big bombshells way before they were revealed - but it's still a tense, foreboding and enjoyable read.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (5 July 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846974186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846974182

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. Sounds a great book

  2. Sounds good, but I do prefer it when you can't figure out the plot and it keeps you guessing!

  3. I love anything folklore, and this sounds great. Thanks for the review!

  4. This sounds good for a relaxing read, although I do prefer a book with a surprising plot!


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