My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First, a disclaimer. I live nine miles away from the setting of this book. Friends who’ve reviewed it have waxed lyrical about the beauty of the setting and how it has a real sense of place.
I had to take a moment as beautiful isn’t a word normally associated with this stark Northern Victorian industrial heritage town. But then, the more I read this book, the more I realised they were right.
Bradford isn’t ever going to be picture postcard but there’s an honesty to this city, built like Rome on a number of hills, and it’s surrounded by the austere bleakness which inspired the Brontes, by the philanthropic benevolence of Sir Titus Salt, by the legacy of the mill owners in Cartwright Hall and Lister Park.
This book made me see this city again, one I’ve so often turned my nose up at (apart from The Alhambra which I’ve always loved), and see it through the eyes of a man finding the courage to reveal his deepest truth.
The colours of dawn, promises of a new day and a fresh start, run throughout this story. Warm oranges, clear blues, an occasional grey – it rains a lot “Up Norf” – passionate reds, delicate peach and deeper purples, also bring to life the animals who act as guides to Tom and Loz’s journey.
I loved it and yes I know I’ve not really gone into the narrative of the book but that’s deliberate as I do firmly believe this short story should be read blind, with no hints of what is to come.
Just be heartened that all ends as it should and Mona Lisa definitely smiled.