‘The Unmaking of Ellie Rook’ by Sandra Ireland

Review (5 stars out of 5)

When a phone call interrupts her gap year to bring her home to Scotland, Ellie Rook is faced with the news that her mother has perished after plunging over an infamously dangerous waterfall. Without a body, Ellie and the rest of the family try to make sense of the tragedy, but with a scrap-merchant father who seems untouched by it all and a kid brother whose account doesn’t quite ring true, the young woman struggles to piece together whatever has gone wrong in her mother’s life.

One of the things I love about Sandra Ireland’s writing is her ability to weave myths and legends into her stories, and this one is no different. Brought up on the tale of warrior queen Finella, who jumped to her death after killing a king, protagonist Ellie fights to separate the facts from the small signs around her home and nearby beach that seem to suggest her mother’s presence. Ms Ireland’s prose is deliciously inventive and filled with imagery and evocative descriptions of the surrounding landscape, making this a thrilling, if troubling, read.

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