By Sophia Whitfield
This debut novel from Andrew Michael Hurley charts the desperate longing of a mother to find a cure for Hanny, her adolescent son, who has never spoken and displays the behaviour and mannerisms of a much younger child.
Narrated by Hanny’s brother, he describes the gathering of friends and family that set off on their holiday to The Loney, a place they visit once a year to pray for Hanny’s recovery.
“If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney - that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.”
Father Wilfred has died in ambiguous circumstances, his faith shaken at the end of his life. In his place is Father Bernard, a gentler, kinder soul who can’t quite align himself with the fanatical beliefs of his charges. He has been instructed to go on this pilgrimage, which begins badly and ends tragically.
The stark, barren land described by Hurley compliments the raw feelings that come to the surface during this strange pilgrimage.
In a place bereft of hope, haunting pagan rituals begin to unfold driving members of the group away. Hanny and his brother become embroiled in seemingly supernatural activities they have been warned to avoid.
Despite the terribleness around her, Hanny’s mother remains focused on her one goal. She is disappointed in the mild manner of Father Bernard, continually instructing him in the rituals that Father Wilfred undertook. Determined to keep her mission in sight she displays both insanity and desperation in her pursuit and continued belief in a miracle cure God will bestow on her son.
A haunting, beautifully told debut, The Loney is an immersive read that well deserves its Costa First Novel Award shortlisting. Buy the book here.
This is the first book I have read by Rosamunde Pilcher. As it often comes up on Christmas lists I decided to make it my festive read.On January 4, 2016
Penny Vincenzi is one of the UK’s best-loved and most popular authors. Since her first novel, Old Sins, was published in 1989, she has written fifteen bestselling novels, including The Decision and...On November 3, 2017
Author Kelly Doust began her working life in the publishing industry and has gone on to build a successful career writing about fashion and craft, including writing for Vogue and...On March 21, 2016
Actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks is writing a book. Hanks won our hearts as Forrest Gump, and did it again when he was a guest on Desert Island Discs. See...On February 28, 2017
By Sophia WhitfieldOn October 28, 2013
By Sophia WhitfieldOn February 18, 2016