Novella Review – Matriarch by Adam Wing

The story is over. It’s already too late.

At the end of the Turkish War of Independence, a British soldier disobeys orders to return home. Setting out to explore a country he had only known as trespasser, he uncovers danger, mysteries, and magic—adventure, obsession, and true love.

One hundred years later, the soldier’s great-granddaughter sits at her great-grandmother’s deathbed while the old woman recounts this very tale; it is the last she will ever tell.

Secrets are revealed as past and present collide, and as one woman’s future draws toward its inevitable close, another finds hers thrown into uncertainty.

Review

Gran Merrill is dying, at least that’s what the nurse says to the 80 or so relatives that try to take up her hospital bedside. Eventually convinced to head home they leave Cass, Gran’s favourite, with her to stay by her bedside. When Gran wakes she tell Cass she has a story that needs telling, one she has never heard before, the story of how her great grandmother and grandfather met. Cass knows that Gran’s stories can include a touch of the magical, something she has long grown out of believing, but this story seems too crazy to be made up. Filled with magical beings, war and the heartbreaking story of how two people managed to come together. It is only in the last moments that Cass learns the truth… something which may affect her more that she could imagine.

This is one of the first Novellas I’ve ever read that left me with such a lasting impact. I never realised it was possible to put that much story, awaken that many emotions, in so few pages. Reading this was like reading a 500 page book, never missing out on character growth or plot, and had me hooked from the first page. I had no idea where the story was going to take me and was wholly unprepared for the ending.

The story is told almost as if Gran is reading a book to Cass with some interjections from the present, normally when Cass comes to a part she simply cant grasp. Set in post war Turkey and following English man Oliver Merrill, a soldier who after the end of the war found himself too in love with the country to leave it. His story is equally heartbreaking and at times exasperating. All he wants in life is someone to settle down with, someone to love and who loves him back, and even when he manages all of that, he can’t seem to settle down and be truly happy.

This book is about choices, who we choose to love and the reasons behind it. How we can’t always necessarily get the happy ending we deserve, and sometimes it is better to have loved and lost than to hold onto something that is not entirely right. It is about the choices we make and the repercussions that occur from those choices. And it is about the selfishness of humans and how, in the end, that could be our one downfall.

I can’t say too much without giving away massive spoilers, but I will say that this Novella was not at all what I expected in the most amazing way. Filled with impossible to guess twists, I flew through it in under an hour and will certainly be looking up the authors other works.

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