Blog Tour | The Golden Orphans #review #damppebblesblogtours

I’m counting down the days until I go on holiday and all I can think about it is being in the sun, so it was kind of fortuitous that I had The Golden Orphans to read this week, set in the sunny clime of Cyprus, it was the perfect book for my mood this week.

about the book

Golden Orphans Cover Image

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.

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my thoughts

This is the kind of book that gets under your skin from the start, it has a style of writing that invites you in and a slow tension that creeps up on you without you really noticing but I found that I was entranced easily and didn’t want to put it down.

The Golden Orphans doesn’t take its time, it’s a very slim book at just over 150 pages so you are thrust straight in to the story. The book opens at a funeral on Cyprus and there are plenty questions from the start, not the burning desperate kind but the kind that keep coming back, that hang around in your conscious waiting for the right time to reveal themselves.

I actually really enjoy literary fiction, if I’m in the right mood for it, but do find that generally it relies more on introspection and an engaging writing style rather than on a solid plot line. This book actually has the best of both worlds, it conjures scenes vividly, has enigmatic and worldly characters, and really makes you think about what is being said but also has an intriguing story that you can follow.

The setting is wonderful, Cyprus has such an interesting history, I found it a fascinating backdrop to what was happening, the contrast of the happy island life against the darker past of both the island and some of the characters. I won’t mention much about the story but it has some twists that I wouldn’t have anticipated.

I think this is a book that will play on my mind for quite some time, it might be small but it has a powerful impact.

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about the author

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.

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