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Book Review: Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepard-Robinson

Blood & Sugar

Laura Shepard-Robinson

Macmillan 

RRP: $34.99

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.

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is the General Manager at Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 10 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two small children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.

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