Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan

Taken from the Amazon description

Gwenni Morgan is not like any other girl in this small Welsh town. Inquisitive, bookish and full of spirit, she can fly in her sleep and loves playing detective. So when a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, and no one seems to be asking the right questions, Gwenni decides to conduct her own investigation. She records everything she sees and hears: but are her deductions correct? What is the real truth? And what will be the consequences of finding out, for Gwenni, her family and her community?

I don't normally copy and paste book synopses but I did for this one because when I first read the above I kinda groaned and thought 'oh not another plucky girl playing detective book' (not that I read many of those, but it just didn't sound very original.) But it had been on my shelf for a while and has some brilliant reviews so I gave it a shot.

The book is more about a small community rather than individuals or a missing neighbour (which only plays a small part in the book). Set in a small Welsh village in the 1950's, Gwenni introduces her family and the more colourful characters in the village she inhabits. Its the kind of village where everyone goes to church, everybody knows everyone else's business and gossip is rife.

The writing could be described as vibrant and charming, its an easy read and one to curl up with. When Gwenni first introduces herself and claims that she can fly in her sleep I did wonder where it was going and what kind of book this was going to be. As it turns out Gwenni does need to escape in her dreams as a way of making sense of the very adult world around her. Its not exactly a coming of age story but more about Gwenni learning about the adult village life and the harsh life lessons (and skeletons) that entails.

This turned out to be a real gem of a book and one I really enjoyed.

Verdict 4/5

Posted by Jess


  1. Marvellous review! I found this one in a charity shop a few months ago for a miniscule £1 and snapped it up, so I'm glad to hear it was a brilliant find! One to read on a day off with a big mug of tea, I think...
    Ellie @ Musings of a Bookshop Girl

  2. Great review! From the synopsis, it's one I would never pick up, but you've persuaded me...

  3. Fantastic recommendation! I'm obsessed with reading Welsh right now, and this one sounds just borderline bildungsroman to work!

  4. Oh, this sounds wonderful. As you said, the synopsis doesn't sound that exciting, but I'm going to trust you one this one and add it to the wishlist.

  5. I have a copy at home, Jess, and I'm looking forward to reading it now. Nice review.

  6. Ellie - it'll be perfect with a mug of tea I think. Hope you enjoy it

    Tiny Library - it doesnt sound the most exciting from the synopsis does it? I only picked it up really because of the rave reviews, glad I did.

    wereadtoknow - I should have mentioned in the review but the Welsh accent does comes through quite strongly which is lovely. Did take me a while to work out that Ta meant dad though.

    irisonbooks - its a great one for a rainey day and if you like community books (you know the ones I mean) then you should enjoy it

    The Book Whisperer - I hope you enjoy it, its quite a quick read.