Thank you to Fiona Curlew for organising this tour and for a copy of this novel in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
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Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain.
Two women whose paths should never have crossed.
A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.
Maria’s history is a lie. Washed up on the shores of Sweden in 1944, with no memory, she was forced to create her own. 43 years later she still has no idea of who she really is.
Jaak fights for Estonia’s independence, refusing to accept the death of his fiancée Maarja, whose ship was sunk as she fled across the Baltic Sea to escape the Soviet invasion.
Angie knows exactly who she is. A drug addict, a waste of space. Life is just about getting by. A chance meeting in Edinburgh’s Cancer Centre is the catalyst for something very different.
Sometimes all you need is someone who listens.
Told through multiple perspectives and across several timelines, The Unravelling of Maria is a beautiful written story of entwined characters across time. The writing is spellbinding and beautiful and each character is extremely well developed. There is romance, history, drama and it’s all told in a wonderful flowing narrative.
With each timeframe or character perspective the reading experience is completely immersive. Wherever and whenever the characters were – so was I. Estonia is a country I shamefully know nothing about and I found the historical aspect fascinating. I adored how Edinburgh (a place I love) was explored to include warts and all. It’s a city of contrast and this was clearly shown in the rich and vivid description.
All three main characters are developed beautifully, with flaws and relatable personalities. Each of then face their own heartbreak and struggles throughout the timeline which are written with sensitivity but honesty. Difficult things are not shied away from and they are not glamourised in any way. The characters’ struggles are raw and as a I reader I felt every pain they did.
I adored this book and I am so happy I was given the chance to read an arc copy for review. Sometimes you can feel, through the writing style, how an author has put so much of themselves into their work. This is definitely the case here. Strong research and knowledge combined with characters written from then heart make this an absolute gem of a book.
Author Bio – F J Curlew
Fiona dropped out of school aged 15, because being the consummate rebel, she hated it! After becoming a single parent she decided to return to education, graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in primary education. Ah, the irony!
As soon as she graduated she packed everything she owned into her Renault 11, including her daughter, two dogs and a cat, and headed off to Estonia to become an international school teacher. After fifteen years of teaching, predominantly in Eastern Europe, she returned to the UK to focus on her writing.
She now lives on the east coast of Scotland with a rescued Ukrainian street mutt (now deceased – heavy sigh), a Scottish Black Labrador, Springer Spaniel, and a Portuguese cat who doesn’t like the weather!
She is the author of two novels. ‘To Retribution,’ a dystopian thriller and ‘Dan Knew,’ the semi-autobiographical acount of her travels through the eyes of Dan, one of her Ukrainian rescue dogs.