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How It Was Reviews

How It Was by Janet Ellis

How It Was: the immersive, compelling new novel from the author of The Butcher's Hook

Janet Ellis

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Two Roads
Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication date: 8 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781473625174

A new, darkly compelling novel from the author of the highly-acclaimed The Butcher's Hook. It's the 1970s and in rural Kent nothing much is happening, except a woman has lit a fuse under her marriage and the explosion is coming.

4 stars out of 5
Alexander Larman
13 Aug 2019

"engaging and readable"

Janet Ellis’s follow-up to her fine debut novel, The Butcher’s Hook, deals with tension between generations, exacerbated by a long-buried secret. As Marion Deacon sits dutifully by her dying husband Michael’s bedside, she thinks about the shortlived love affair she had decades ago, as even greater tragedy befalls her family. Ellis has a knack for depicting the way in which families struggle to communicate, while the use of multiple narrators enables her to parcel out information right up until the affecting conclusion. Despite being somewhat overlong, How It Was remains engaging and readable.