[The Herbalist] EBOOK
35 Stars The Herbalist by Niamh BoyceSet in the 1930s in a small town in Ireland The Herbalist is a simple and compelling story excellently well crafted with subtle detail and exuisite prose that will keep you turning the pages of this beautifully written novelIt is hard to believe that this is Niamh Boyce s first novel as she really captures the mood of 1930s Ireland and I loved the contrast between the town and country irls and Making Sense of Leadership: Exploring the Five Key Roles Used by Effective Leaders good and evil I have read a lot of books set in Ireland around this time and I think Niamh Boyce has a uniue ability to capture the reader s attention with her storytellingThe story centres on a small town where the usualossip occurs between the shop keepers and the customers and where some of The Town Folk Think The Country Folk town folk think the country folk beneath them A town where very little seems to happen until a mysterious exotic man appears out of nowhere and sets up his stall in the suare his appearance in the town livens things up with his lotions and potions and the ladies of the town from young to old become mesmerized by this visitor who they say can perform miraclesI loved the cover of this novel as it just seems to draw you in and in itself tells a story of 1930s IrelandThe characters are well drawn and each has her own story to tell I loved that many of the female character were strong women who were easy to relate to There seemed to be an absence of catholic Ireland of the time in the novel Which I think would have dealt with the herbalist long before he made himself comfortable in the town and if not a parish priest would have chastised the women concerned from the alterI think this novel Penny Aggie Volume 2 gives areat sense of social history of the time and I especially loved the reference to films showing at the local pictureOur book club has chosen this as our January read and having read the book I think it will make an excellent book club read as there is plenty of discussion and much to admire about the author s writing This is one I am looking forward to Gandhi Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age group discussionA well written and enjoyable read and I for one will look forward to Niamh Boyce s next novelNiamh was named the 2012 Hennessy XO New Irish Writer of the Year My thanks to Penguin Ireland for sending me this novel to review A very easy four stars Almost fiveThis story starts slow and builds and builds and builds It is fantastically written and the prose is so lyrical that it felt at times as though I were reading a poem The writing itselfrows and by the end you feel as though you re reading a different book entirelyIt is mysterious and shocking with threads of romance woven through The little town has just as much of a little mind is judgemental and closed and old fashioned even for the times It s a poisonous little placeAt first I found it a little difficult to differentiate between the different narratives but it soon became easy the voices became so much distinct once I better knew the charactersI love poisonous relationships And this book has plenty Whether it s romance or family or the twisted small town community relationships they re Les Innocents great in this bookEmily was the character thatot to me the most It s like she aged all of a sudden yet at the same time it was so slow and subtle She was infuriating and than a little silly but she I Was A Stranger grew up and did the right thingI felt so sorry for Sarah and only wish I hadn t been drip fed the information so slowly But at the same time it was right for the pacing of the storyThis is a book that would uite easily help me pass a long slow summer s day I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes The Herbalist is written in the point of view of 4 women 2 are written in the first person and 2 are in the third person I didn t find it jarring It was divided by chapter and the voices were distinctive The fact that Niamh Boyce is also a poet who has won awards is clear when reading The Herbalist As I read the book I felt as if an impressionist painting was being revealed stroke by stroke The three uestions on the cover stayed in the back of my mind as I watched 3 women s lives unfold Who will receive mercy Who will have hope Who will fall to ruinEmily seems like the main character She s an unreliable narrator I couldn t help but feel for her and admire her spirit even when she made poor decisions Though her erratic actions sometimes bothered me they felt true to her characte Firstly this is a brilliantly written first novel by new Irish author from Kildare Niamh Boyce Inspired by a 1940 s newspaper clipping about a herbalist arrested for crimes against youngirls Boyce deals with the hypocrisy and closed mindedness of early twentieth century Ireland Actually you could argue THAT WHERE THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN where the treatment of women concerned things haven t progressed as much as one would have hoped One only has to read the UN s review of Ireland s compliance with the ICCPR where committee members severely criticise Ireland s treatment of women and children in the past and now how Irish women are being denied human rights and ho. The Herbalist is the electrifying first novel from Niamh Boyce winner of the 2012 Hennesssy XO Award for New Irish Writing It is a devastating and emotional story of yearning and obsession in 1930s rural Ireland Out of nowhere the herbalist appears and sets up his stall in the market suare Teenager Emily is
Niamh Boyce ð 1 REVIEWPparent peace and uiet What really impressed me is how the author managed to keep the upcoming drama below the surface for so long While the reader is well aware that disaster is only around the corner or a few turned pages away the tone of the story is smooth and almost distant Nothing is spelled out in detail The reader has to read between the lines and draw the conclusions that aren t spelled out While there is a constant under current of pending doom the story is told in whispers the same sort of whispers that would ive voice to ossip in a town like this As a result the story is told through the words that aren t on the pages just as much as the words that are actually there And some of those words are orgeous Sarah loved opening the shop loved the way the light lit the silence first thing in the morning Maybe there was a bit too much the light lit the silence first thing in the morning Maybe there was a bit too much at the end of the chapters as in for example maybe she should ve listened carefully I understand that this would have been done to up the tension but I don t think the book needed it The tone of the story and all the things that weren t said or explained made it perfectly clear that we were heading for some sort of climax the extra hints weren t necessary in my opinionThe characters in this book are fascinating especially since you hear the story from several different perspectives At first lance it would appear that their problems are very much a product of the time they re living in but if you think again not a whole lot has changed Women who have lost a much wanted baby are still expected to snap out of it Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are still viewed with suspicion and mistrusted Unplanned pregnancies are still a thing to be frowned upon This is a thought provoking story about women their strengths and weaknesses in the face of everything life and the people around them may throw at themAccording to the publisher s information this story is based on real events in 1930s Ireland I thought about researching what those real events might have been but decided that there really was no need As much as this story is set in the past and as much as we may read this book and be horrified by the events described it has to be said that not so much has changed since then This is still a country where thousands of women feel the need to flee to England every year where abortion remains illegal under all circumstances and many would refuse a woman that right even if would mean putting her life at risk Eighty years later so little has changed that this story is far contemporary than it should be And that alone makes this a book well
worth reading i found it really difficult toreading I found it really difficult to into this novel The character development was rather weak especially the development of character relationships It s ok to have a weak character but not a weakly developed character Emily s relationship with the Herbalist and his with her seems implausible The characters just weren t developed enough to make it believable Also there were other aspects of the book that were just not developed enough What happened with Rose could have been so compelling but because of inadeuate character development I as reader just didn t have enough of a relationship with her to care And Sarah s situation offered the opportunity for an unexpected twist but when her experience is finally revealed it is so predictable and boring I actually rolled my eyes I only continued the book out of curiosity as to what would happen to the characters but the only one whose fate was something of a surprise was Sarah s And that was mild at best But I didn t hate the book just found it very poorly written which is why it merited two stars instead of just one Just to be clear I loved this bookBut being totally honest I found the first chapter or two unexciting So much so that I picked up another book to read instead I did intend iving The Herbalist another o and when my book club chose it as our book du jour I was delighted to have a reason to pick it up again And I am SO Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth glad I did It s a very different style of book to any I ve read before The author s voice reminds me a little of a female Donal Ryan The Spinning Heart and if you liked his books I would suggest that you would really enjoy The HerbalistAgain being honest I was put off by the chapters beingiven to an individual character and titled as such that s just a personal bugbear but there was something about the same characters that kept me reading even through the third uarter where I felt the story stagnated a little just briefly But this book is less about story and about characters in my view and the author does such a 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts genuinely fantastic job of drawing individual interesting ones that I think I would have wanted to read about them whether a herbalist had ever arrived into their lives or notA reallyreat first novelPS eneral consensus from book club was that it was a really enjoyable read 354 Not sure what I feel about this Loved the idea but not so much the execution of this story. Dark side her world turns upside down She may be naive but she has a fierce sense of right and wrong With his fate lying in her hands Emily must make the biggest decision of her young life To make the herbalist pay for his sins against the women of the town Or let him escape to cast his spell on another place. W they are being abandoned by State that stigmatises them treats them As Criminals And criminals and forces to leave their country State that stigmatises them treats them as criminals and forces them to leave their country health services denied to them Damning yet true Anyway in Boyce s novel 1930 s Ireland was a dangerous place for our four leading ladies all of whom become consumed in some way by the dark stranger who moves uietly into their town their heads and in some cases their bodies The women are a mixture of strength resolve resentment suspicion and vulnerability and despite the confusion of the opening chapters I eventually rew to understand and relate to their predicaments There is such a sinister undertone to this novel a reality that is disturbingly complex and hard to accept The book is interesting and ripping but at times the prose submits to the poetic principle of show don t tell so we are left hanging with incomplete and unfinished details and descriptions and uestions than answers On the whole though a ood read it s encouraging to see this calibre of writing coming out of the country What a fab book This lady can really write Highly recommendedsee my full review belowhttpbleachhouselibraryblogspotie This was a potentially interesting story of rural Ireland in the 1930s When a herbalist arrives in a small town the women flock to him many secretly hoping he ll cure what ails them In fact he is a back room abortionist There are elements of magic realism for example the Hello, Snow! ghost of airl who died from a botched procedure visits the scorned town prostitute a reader of fortunes and an occasional spiritualist There are far too many dalliances affairs rapes incest and pregnancies which weigh the book down in soppy melodrama Not worth your while You wouldn t know it but it s my story You won t find me in the column inches You won t find me in the newsprint You ll find me in the aps the commas the full stops the small dark spaces where one thing led to another Although the uote above relates specifically to one of the characters in this book it is an accurate description for the whole book This story is told with as much elouence through everything that isn t spelled out as it is through the words on the pagesThis story tells the tale of a small town in Ireland during a hot summer late in the 1930 s It shows us the events that slowly deceptively but steadily led towards heartbreak and destruction after two strangers arrive in town The first stranger was Don Vikram Fernandez a dark skinned travelling herbalist Although he is looked at with suspicion by almost everyone in the town when he first arrives it isn t long before especially the town s women find that the potions and lotions he has on offer are something they can t live without The only person to immediately take to Don Vikram is young Emily Seventeen years young and having just lost her mother Emily is an adventurous and romantic spirit Although most people in town look down on her Emily refuses to let that et her down or destroy her dreams Young and lonely as she is it doesn t take a lot of the herbalist s attention or many of his enticing fantasies to make the Mastering the Art of Saying No Without Feeling Guilty: Tips, Techniques and Strategies girl believe herself deeply in love with him and him with herThe second stranger is Sarah Having been raised in the country side by her midwife aunt after her mother died in childbirth Sarah finds herself transported into the town after the school master her secret boyfriend s father arranges a job for her there in his sister s shop The night before she leaves her aunt s house a big party is held in her honour a party that will have far reaching conseuences for Sarah and for the town she s about to move toCarmel owns the shop where Sarah is about to start working Having just lost her much longed for son in a still birth Carmel is deeply unhappy and than ready to retreat into her bedroom to nurse her depression and read her kinky and forbidden novels Ignoring her much younger husband as well as her shop and home will have far reaching conseuences and not just for herYoung Rose is the beautiful and privileged daughter of the local doctor Always kept close by her mother Rose seems to have the spoiled and perfect life otherirls can only dream about But all is not well in paradise and by the time the truth is discovered it will too late for this young womanObserving it all is Aggie Woman of ill repute fortune teller and spiritualist it is Aggie who sees and knows it all Unable to interfere she is able to share her knowledge and pearls of wisdom with the reader and in the process comfort the dead There is a time in everyone s life when you leave behind who you were born to be and become what life makes of you or you of it This is a beautiful and fascinating book It captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small town in Ireland in the 1930 s with an accuracy that is almost painful In this town where it is impossible to be invisible where opinions are formed to remain in place indefinitely and where the moral high Yuganta, The End Of An Epoch ground is held by those who least deserve to reside there it wouldn t take a lot to disturb the Pellbound by the exotic stranger here is a man of the world who won't care that she's not respectable However Emily has competition for the herbalist's attentions It seems the women of her small town are all mesmerized by the visitor who they say can perform miracles When Emily discovers the miracle worker's.