Title: The Song of Peterloo
Author: Carolyn O’Brien
Length: 376 pages
Publisher: Legend Press
This book was published in early August to coincide with the 200 year anniversary of a The Peterloo Massacre.
Manchester 1819: Prices are high and wages are low, but as the poor become poorer, the rich are alarmed by their calls for reform. Mill-worker Nancy Kay struggles to support her ailing mother and sensitive son. Desperate to provide for them, she is inspired to join the growing agitation. But, as she risks everything to attend a great assembly on St Peter’s Field, Nancy is unaware the day will go down in history, not as a triumph but as a tragedy: the Peterloo massacre.
This book is throughly enjoyable. It’s a heartfelt, brutal look at a turning point in British history.
We see the story of Nancy unfold through the eyes of people around. It’s such a interesting way of telling the story, and you get to know Nancy is such a detailed way. There’s such a sense of foreboding for what’s to come for Nancy and the story. Carolyn has created such a fantastic character in Nancy, I loved reading Nancy bettering herself. It’s what gives heart to this tremendous historical fiction novel.
This novel starts off quite slowly, with it really setting the scene for time and place. Due to Carolyn’s atmospheric prose and wonderful description the slow start really lets the reader immerse themselves in the story.
The ending of the book is absolutely thrilling, yet heartbreaking. Carolyn O’Brien makes such a clever choice when the massacre starts to keep chapters short and to change which character we see the story from. It makes it so invigorating. It creates such a fantastic atmosphere. The pacing at the end of ‘The Song of Peterloo’ is brilliant and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s a highlight of the book for me. Like I said, it also was heartbreaking. It just made the ending better. I’m so glad Carolyn chose to end the novel this way, to further show the brutality of the event.
This novel has been meticulously researched. It’s full intricate details that make it a fantastic historical fiction novel. You know I absolutely love a book that is not only excellent, but teaches you something and ‘The Song of Peterloo’ sure did. This isn’t a time in British history I knew much about, but through this novel it felt like I was a part of it.
I can’t recommend this book enough. If you love Historical Fiction, or British history then this is the book for you.
Thank you to Legend Press for gifting me with a copy in return for a honest, unbiased review.
Until the next review