Blood & Sugar
This book was obviously well researched! 18th century England dock life and the sugar trade has never been as fascinating!
This novel straddles, very successfully, two classes of the time – the very rich and the very poor. Our ‘hero’ is tasked with discovering the whereabouts of his old Oxford chum, but his journey of discovery takes him deep into the other side of the tracks. As an ex-soldier (suffering from PTSD) he’s not too easily shocked but his adventures pull him into the hanging of a man on the dock who also has a slave brand burned into him. As you can guess – this is not a novel for the faint of heart!
Exploring ideas such as loyalty, friendship, slavery, trade and the class system this novel tackles some pretty big topics and manages to do so well. At times I felt the historic detail was almost a little overwhelming (as if often the case with first time novelists who have obviously put a lot of energy into getting every detail correct) but other reviews praise this attention to detail – so I suspect it’s very much reader preference.
Blood and Sugar is a steady page turner – it didn’t keep me awake at night reading, but I was keen to pick it up again to continue. Unlike many period dramas it pleasingly didn’t focus heavily on a romantic narrative and I enjoyed this aspect a lot; perhaps I’m getting older and more cynical – but I’ve had enough of the period love sagas!
Highly recommended for historians who like fiction, or those who love well researched fiction – for the rest of us – it’s not a bad read, give it a go!
About the Author
Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.