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"There's no sense in women getting angry, child. It changes nothing or it changes everything. And neither's any good."


All Among the Barley is one of those books whose main character stays with you. The novel is written in the first person from the perspective of Edie, a girl living in a village in England in the 1930s. She is only fourteen in the novel and you see everything through her eyes. The way she experiences the journey from being just a child to turning into a young adult and how she perceives the world around her with its beauties but also harsh aspects is so powerful and beautiful. She looks through a naive but honest lens at life, and describes things in simple terms, trying to figure out what they mean. I promise you it will leave a mark on you.

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I realized I haven't told you what All Among the Barley is about! Here's an official summary of the plot from the publisher:


Fourteen-year-old Edie Mather lives with her family at Wych Farm, where the shadow of the Great War still hangs over a community impoverished by the Great Depression. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen arrives from London, determined to make a record of fading rural traditions and beliefs, and to persuade Edie's family to return to the old ways rather than embrace modernity. She brings with her new political and social ideas – some far more dangerous than others. 


For Edie, who has just finished school and must soon decide what to do with her life, Connie appears to be a godsend. But there is more to the older woman than meets the eye. As harvest time approaches and the pressures mount on the entire Mather family, Edie must decide whose version of reality to trust, and how best to save herself from disaster.

Illustrations by artist Lewis Heriz produced in conjunction with the publication of Melissa Harrison's novel All Among The Barley.

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Throughout the whole novel, I felt like I myself was experiencing what she was going through. The only other time that has happened to me recently was when I was reading The Underground Railroad. I cared about Cora as if she were my friend and now I cared about Edie in the same way. Moreover, there were passages where the prose is virtually breaking into poetry, depicting the beautiful as well as not so attractive side of the countryside. 


The historical backdrop against which the novel is set also adds a nuance to the story, though in my view it is only a minor part of the plot. I think there was a lot of potential to develop the character of Connie ( the woman who comes from London) as well as the impact of the political currents and ideas spreading just before the impending WWII. But that would have perhaps detracted from Edie's story. 


I urge you to find/buy a copy and see for yourself what you think about these points. And let us know your thoughts when you do!!

 

GUEST BOOK REVIEWER

Follow Desi on Instagram: @readerscornucopia

"Desi Kozareva is a 23 years old avid bookstagramer originally from Bulgaria. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and a Master in International Marketing from King's College London. She currently lives and works in London. 
Desi set up her bookstagram account because she wanted to share her love of reading with the book community. "I love reading because it opens up new worlds to you, real as well as imaginary, and lets you in on old and new, controversial and mainstream ideas," she says and adds: "It challenges your thinking and makes you consider different perspectives. It shows how diverse and beautiful the world is, as well as how harsh and unfair it can also bе. Last but by no means least, I enjoy good writing - reading a well-crafted passage gives me pleasure and simply makes me happy." 

 

BRING THEM HOME

All Among the Barley

BUY NOW

The Underground Railroad

BUY NOW

Where the Crawdads Sing

BUY NOW

 
 

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If you would like to be a guest blogger, contact editorial@padmorepublishing.com

 

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