Blog Tour: The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Good evening readers. Tonight, I’m bringing you my review for The Gifts by Liz Hyder. This is a historical fiction book with a supernatural twist.

Big thanks to the author and Bonnier Books for the copy of the book, and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for arranging the tour.

The Book:

Here’s the synopsis:

‘Come Etta, she says to herself. Come. Open your eyes. Whatever it is, the worst must surely be over. Wrung out and exhausted, she edges slowly to her feet, wobbles as she comes to stand. But she has no need to turn her head. The sun emerges from the clouds above, stretching Etta’s shadow far in front and taking her breath away with it. It is impossible. It cannot be……’

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders. Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . .

The Author:

Liz Hyder burst onto the literary scene last year with her acclaimed YA novel Bearmouth (Pushkin Press), which won both the 2020 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers and the Branford Boase Award 2020. It was named a Book of the Year 2019 by the Financial Times, The Observer, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, New Statesman, BBC Radio 4 Extra and was hailed overall Children’s Book of the Year by The Times, who also predicted Hyder would ‘become a household name’. Bearmouth has sold in multiple territories across the world, and a film adaptation is currently in development with Binocular Productions.

My Review:

I was all for joining the blog tour for this book as soon as I read the synopsis. The main characters are women (tick) and there is a supernatural twist to this historically set tale (tick). It sounded right up my street and I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are several characters that the book focuses on, their paths converging as the plot develops. We have Annie, an artist and wife of Edward, an ambitious surgeon whose chance discovery leads to obsession and Mary, a clever young woman and aspiring writer who is determined to follow up on a strange rumour in the streets of London. Then there are Natalya and Etta, two woman who have both been cast out from their homes in varying degrees, who both have a deep love for the natural world and both who are given a remarkable gift.

I think out of all of them, Mary was my favourite. She is smart, determined and resourceful, and I enjoyed the developing relationship with Richard, an old friend of the family.

The setting worked well for the plot, and I could easily conjure up the imagery of the novel from Hyder’s writing – from the fields of Shropshire that Etta explores daily, to the streets of London that Mary traverses and Natalya finds herself stranded in. These places, as well as the period setting, really worked well with the magical realism at play in the book.

The actual story and writing aside, I LOVED the way the book was littered with small illustrations. It just added to the experience of reading.

I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it.


There are few more days left on the blog tour and you can follow it below:

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