I am kicking off my weekend with the first book in the Drumbeats Trilogy, as well as sharing my thoughts on this book there is also a giveaway.
It’s 1965 and 18 year old Jess escapes her stifling English background for a gap year in Ghana, West Africa. But it’s a time of political turbulence across the region. Fighting to keep her young love who she believes is waiting back in England, she’s thrown into the physical dangers of civil war, tragedy, and the emotional conflict of a disturbing new relationship. So why do the drumbeats haunt her dreams?
This is a rite of passage story which takes the reader hand in hand with Jess on her journey towards growing into the adult world.
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This book was a bit of a rollercoaster for me, I certainly had my ups and downs with it. I had a feeling from reading the blurb that this was going to be something a bit different to what I have been reading lately and I always like to switch things up with my reading to keep things interesting, but I am now wondering if that’s why I found this one difficult to get into at first.
I found the writing style a bit difficult to get on with initially, there were times that I felt like very trivial things were overexplained and it felt very formal, especially when it came to Jess’s letters to Simon, the love that she left behind to make the trip. I felt like for someone who believes that this is “the one” that they were perfunctory and a little bit emotionless. I have been wondering whether this is kind of a sign of the times thing considering the book is set in 1965, but it just didn’t sit well with me.
Having said that the author’s use of description was marvellous, I really felt the atmosphere pouring out from the page. I’ve never been to Africa but managed to conjure up images of everything easily and enjoyed learning about customs that I would have had no idea about. I also admired that the book didn’t shy away from the difficulties of living in Ghana and the atrocities that have been inflicted on the people there by the corrupt people in power and by the westerners. It was strange because a lot of this I did find hard to read about but the book still manages to keep a hopeful and upbeat tone.
I did for the most part like the main character Jess, I have never really come across Quaker’s before but from what was described in the book her particular household did seem quite stifling, so I was glad that she had the chance to have some adventure. I thought her growth throughout her trip was endearing and it was good that things didn’t always go smoothly for her because it made her a better person.
However, at points I did find her a bit overly naive even for a teenager in 1965. I liked her determination to do more than what her parents would have set out for her and I think that people would probably label her with some personality traits that were more misconception than who she actually was, but there were a few occasions in which her naivety seemed as if it were to make her appear sweeter and unfortunately for me just made her sickly.
Jim was definitely an interesting character and I loved the development of his friendship with Jess. I am intrigued, to say the least, about how he will come back up as the story continues, especially as the ending of the book had a bit of a cliffhanger feel about it and left me wanting more.
If this sounds like your kind of book and you live in the UK then you will want to click the link below for a chance to win…
a paperback copy of Drumbeats (book 1), book marks, post cards, key ring and handbag fob
If you have a keen eye then you may spot that I am featured in this graphic three times, so make sure to check back to see what else I have for you but be sure to check out the other stops as well.
The Drumbeats Trilogy
The love of a woman and the story of a country.
It’s 1965 and 18 year old Jess escapes her stifling English background for a gap year in Ghana, West Africa. Over the next three evocative novels, follow her journey as she encounters new cultures and loves in this stirring series.
The Drumbeats Trilogy is a passionate saga of love, betrayal and second chances – and of one woman’s bid to reclaim her self-belief and trust. A feel-good up-lit story of a woman’s strength and spirit rising above adversity.
Buy the trilogy
Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics.
She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then a university lecturer and researcher. Finding Jess (2018) is her sixth book and the last of the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins and ends in Ghana). Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.
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[…] week I reviewed book one Drumbeats and now I am here to share with you my thoughts on the second book in the series, Walking in the […]