Sail Upon The Land
By Josa Young
Sail Upon The Land gives us a story that starts in India, travels back to England, then revisits India before ending once more in a quintessentially English setting. The narrative also travels back in time from the beginning and then forward again.
Although the structure is complex, it doesn’t detract from the story. In fact, the handling of the timescale means that we are able to read back into the past and really got to know the significant characters at all the important moments in their lives.
I loved Josa Young’s first novel, One Apple Tasted, (you can read my review here), but if anything I loved Sail Upon The Land even more. I think the main reason was that intense familiarity with the characters, that feeling that you know everything about them – that holds the reader’s interest so tightly. How can you not love a character when you’ve seen them being born, or gone to school with them, or watched them fall in love for the first time?
There’s a richness to the writing that runs through all the strands of the story. Pitch perfect descriptive writing, authentic dialogue and sensitive characterisation.
Although the cast of characters is large, and the author has written the book in such a way that the reader identifies with all of them, Damson Hayes is the star of the show.
It is with Damson that the book starts – as she suffers a hideous ordeal – and it is with her that we finish, and it is Damson’s journey more than that of any other character that holds the novel together. I really don’t want to give too much away, but her story is full of drama, pain, suffering, steadfastness and ultimately redemption.
Though the story is full of romance, it isn’t just a romance, and though it tells the story of a family it is also much more than a family story.
It deals unflinchingly with the themes of motherhood and birth, love, death, duty and finally hope.
I really urge you to read it. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks very much to the author for a copy of this book.