Monday, 6 April 2015

Black Eyed Boy- Laura Huntley

The Blurb

Emily is fifteen. She feels like a ghost in her own home as her parents seem increasingly lost in their own worlds, and only has her best friend, Billy, for company.

Then Emily meets Dylan, the mysterious and gorgeous new stranger in town. With his unusual eyes and irresistible charm, she is soon smitten. But with Billy’s growing jealousy and a series of devastating family tragedies, can they last? Should they?

Dylan is hiding a powerful secret; a secret that could change Emily’s life forever.

The Review

I bought this book because I know the author- Laura runs my writing group (you can read more about that here ) and as I'm familiar with her writing style I knew this would be a good read.  I was less sure about whether the plot would appeal to me as although I knew it was a romance, Laura does love her dark twists and turns.  However, although Black Eyed Boy has a distinct gothic air and a feel of foreboding, the romantic in me was pleasantly surprised by just how driven by love the plot actually was.

It's a coming of age tale of that all consuming first love, and reading Emily's feelings towards Dylan took my right back to being a teen again.  However, this book definitely has a crossover appeal and isn't just for the young adult audience-it's fresh and original. 

Emily is fifteen and when she spots traveller Dylan she (along with all the other girls in town) is under his spell.  He's different and mysterious and before long Emily is choosing to spend time with Dylan rather than with her oldest friend Billy or even her terminally ill mother.  She is completely smitten with Dylan and nothing else seems significant.  Except for the raven who sits on her window ledge each evening...

Beautiful historic Whitby makes a dramatic backdrop for this love story with a difference and the exquisite descriptions of the town transported me straight to one of my favourite UK destinations.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say the seaside setting is as much a 'character' as typical teen Emily and gypsy Dylan. 

The difficult theme of bereavement is tackled bravely and with an honest sensitivity. I ran the full gauntlet of emotions reading Black Eyed Boy- it had a bit of everything, and a true Yorkshire flavour to boot.

A final note must be reserved for Emily's caring and insightful neighbour Mrs Bishop.  I loved her so much!  What a wonderful, warm periphery character and a reminder to all readers and writers of the importance of a varied cast to add depth to a novel. 

I'm so happy there's going to be more from these characters as a sequel is in the pipeline- please don't let it be too long a wait!

Black Eyed Boy is out now in ebook format, published by Crooked Cat.

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