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Attend by West Camel #BlogTour

"When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises."

Attend is the first book from (the brilliantly named) West Camel and coincidentally my last Blog Tour of the year. It is told from three perspectives, Anne, Sam and Deborah and flits about between present day and as far back as 1913.

I found myself immediately warming to Anne. All throughout the book I was rooting for her to stay clean and stay clear of her nasty ex-husband Mel.  I can appreciate the stance of her mother and daughter given the hell Anne must have put them through as a heroin addict but really felt for her trying to fix broken bonds. Even now the book is finished, I still hope she is doing alright.

I loved how magical realism was cleverly woven into the plot. Camel pushed it just enough to enable the reader to either believe or fall back on the more plausible explanations offered. Excellent from a debut. I thought the front cover was strong. A needle, so central to Deborah's life, threaded with three strands (Anne, Sam and Deborah?) Certainly stands out on the shelf. I also loved the glimpse of South London through the ages, the river, the markets, the council estates. 

What I liked most however were the re-occurring themes of not fitting in and being on the outskirts of society. The recovering heroin addict, the elderly woman with no relatives, the single man new to the City and how this can often make you invisible. Not Abra Cadabra invisible (or was it?) but unneeded, unwanted and yes, unloved. Anne when visiting her family, Sam speaking to no-one once work had finished, Deborah living alone in a run down building she called home. All scenarios we have probably read about before yet wrapped up and given a unique take in Attend. It's unlike any other book I have read this year and as a first (Camel) and last (me) it's an excellent offering.

My thanks go to Orenda Books via Anne Cater's Random Things Through My Letterbox for the copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


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