Book Review: December Girl by Nicola Cassidy

I was sent a copy of December Girl for an honest review. I also purchased the e-book version for kindle. All thoughts and opinions are – and always will be – my own.

The Blurb:

Molly Thomas is a feisty, independent soul, born on the Winter Solstice. At every stage of her life, she has faced troubles.

As a young woman, her family are evicted from their home at Christmas. Molly swears vengeance on the jealous neighbour and land agent responsible, Flann Montgomery.

Then in 1896, her baby son is taken from his pram. While Molly searches the streets for little Oliver, the police are called but her baby is gone.

Why does trouble seem to follow Molly? And will she ever find out what happened to her child?

December Girl is a tale of family bonds, love, revenge and murder.

The Author:

Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland. Thanks to the encouragement of her English teachers Nicola studied journalism at Dublin City University and undertook a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Nicola also has a lifestyle, parenting and literary blog

December Girl is Nicola’s debut novel. A historical fiction novel inspired by true events and set in the Boyne Valley, Co. Meath. She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016.Nicola’s writing has been featured on RTE Lifestyle, The, The Irish Times and Irish She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co.Louth. You can find out more about Nicola on her twitter and facebook.


The Review:

Let me start by saying this; I don’t read historical fiction. I’m not entirely sure why but it’s never been a genre that appealed to me and since December Girl is an historical fiction novel I didn’t expect to be too enamoured with it. However I regularly read Nicola Cassidy’s writing on her site, and she has an exceptional way with words, so I decided to put my dislike of the genre to the back of my mind and read December Girl for the sheer enjoyment of the descriptive prose and turn of phrase I had come to expect from Nicola’s writing through her blog posts.

In fact, to be entirely honest, if it wasn’t for knowing Nicola’s writing from her blog I probably wouldn’t have read December Girl – despite the beautiful cover – and that would have been an incredible shame.

After finishing the book it turns out I was completely right – and incredibly wrong.

Firstly how I was right: Yes, the book was beautifully written. Nicola is a natural storyteller and if I hadn’t known this was her debut novel I would have assumed she was a seasoned novelist. As an aspiring writer myself this book both managed to inspire me to write and plague me with thoughts of ‘how would I ever write this well’. Quite the conflict of emotions!

Now for the part I was wrong about; I didn’t at all dislike the historical fiction genre. I actually really enjoyed it. Now, to be fair, I found myself so caught up with Molly, her life and everything surrounding her that it really wouldn’t have mattered if it was set on a distant planet two thousand years into the future or under the sea but the setting was perfect and really added to the story.

The problem was when I first sat down to write a summary and how I felt about this book I actually found it quite difficult. After reading through what I had written I realised I had included too many spoilers, too many hints for what was to come and so I decided that, for my review, I would simply explain that the plot was a difficult one to discuss without giving away too much information to the potential reader.

However I realised that this was only partially true. The ultimate problem with what I had initially written was that I had been overly enthusiastic. I had spilled everything onto the page because I wanted to discuss it, to give my opinions, my views, to figure things out. Basically – I was passionate about the story. Molly’s tale had gotten under my skin and played on my mind long after the closing sentence.

And so, instead of discussing the plot, I will simply say that December Girl will resonate to different readers in different ways. It’s one of those books that, after you read the last page, you’ll close it slowly and sit in silence for a few minutes processing what you’ve just read and thinking about Molly.

I will also pass on to you something very important I have learned by reading Nicola Cassidy’s December Girl;

Read outside of your preferred genres – because if you don’t you might miss something very special.

You can buy December Girl here.


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