Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves

It’s publication day for Victoria Park and so I’m sharing my thoughts on this wonderful modern literary novel.

The blurb …

A moving, uplifting debut following the disparate lives of twelve Londoners over the course of a single year.

Mona and Wolfie have been married for sixty-five years and have lived on Victoria Park for most of them. But Mona’s been unwell, the cruel onset of Alzheimer’s meaning she’s slowly forgetting the community that she has known for so long.

Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows twelve people over the course of a single year. As the months unfold, ordinary days give way to extraordinary moments. A young man finds more than he bargains for when he breaks into a house. A couple navigate IVF with varying degrees of enthusiasm. A mother struggles with the morality of reading her daughter’s diary. Meanwhile, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park touches each resident in a different way.

Told from multiple perspectives against a backdrop of the ever-changing seasons, these carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of a novel and a touching exploration of resilience, love and loss.

My thoughts …

I loved this book and thought the concept was brilliant as we get a fascinating glimpse into the lives of twelve different characters over the course of a year, so each chapter is a different month and focuses on a different character, living or working around Victoria Park.  I really enjoyed this unusual structure and thought it was a really beautiful, fresh and modern piece of writing. 

The author sensitively writes about the challenges faced by an array of diverse and fascinating characters. With issues ranging from looking after a loved one with alzheimer’s, the pain of infertility, teenage issues and and an extra marital affair, amongst others. Each character was brilliantly drawn and so convincing that I felt I was listening in on the characters and observing each interaction myself. The author really picked up on each characters different personalities, mannerisms and backgrounds and I thought that the writing was exceptional in this regard. It was also interesting when the characters and their relationships would overlap slightly so that they would pop up in another chapter where you weren’t expecting them.

The story also subtly shows how events, such as a terrible acid attack in the park, can have a far reaching affect on a community even in a large city like London. And of course the thirteenth character in this book is Victoria Park, I loved the setting and the sense of place and the vibe of London through the changing seasons, it really added to the reading experience for me.

I thought that this was a brilliant debut novel. It was brilliantly observed, perceptive and thought provoking and I would highly recommend to fans of modern literary fiction.

About the author …

Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher who lives and works in London. Victoria Park is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @g_c_reeves and Instagram @gemma__reeves

Thank you so much to the publicists at Atlantic Books for my gifted copy in return for an honest review.

Published by Allen & Unwin on 7th January 2021

Thanks for reading

🧡

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