“Oh, wow!” I started repeating this about one chapter into the novel, The Tell Tale by Clare Ashton, and continued the exclamations long after I finished the book. You can ask my partner. After a while she would just answer, “Yes, dear, I know,” every time I said it. This story is very different from any I’ve read before, but I’m so glad I asked to read and review it.
This is a story set in a small rural village called Foel in Wales in the 1970’s. Homosexuality had only been legal a few years (1967), but in Foel, that wouldn’t have mattered much. The place is definitely male oriented to the point that the women are relegated to being only wives and mothers after they graduate high school. Gossip is the sport of choice for the villagers, and anyone deemed “different” is going to live a hard life. In this atmosphere we are told the story of three women: Beth Griffiths, Lady Sophie Melling, and Elin Mathews, and wow, is there a story here.
The author has told a masterful tale of a village (and its people) filled with secrets that someone wants out in the open. This is an intricate mystery and intrigue filled with more twists and turns than a knotted ball of yarn. The setting is kind of creepy in a misogynistic, homophobic way. The characters, both main and secondary are unforgettable. The story itself is amazing with an ending I never saw coming.
I’m still going, “Oh, wow!” whenever I think about this book, and it’s been a few days since I finished reading it. This story is worth way more than 5 stars. It has my highest recommendation. You must read this novel. You can buy the book here.
I received an ARC for an honest review.