Author: Rosy Thornton
Published: April 2012 – Sandstone Press
Paperback – 320 pages
My take: As she did in The Tapestry of Love, Rosy Thornton gives her most recent novel Ninepins an interesting setting that could almost be considered one of the main characters. The changing atmosphere of the fens fascinated me!
Ninepins is a quiet yet compelling novel. Laura and her 12-year-old daughter Beth take in 17-year-old Willow as a boarder to help make ends meet. Willow is just coming out of the foster care system so she has a social worker, Vince, who regularly checks in on her. Willow seems emotionally fragile and has a troubled past. Beth is dealing with a few issues herself. She’s at a new school, trying out new friends, and is pretty much a hormonal mess. The latter causes her to take out her frustrations on her mother.
Laura learns of Willow’s past after she agrees to let her rent the small pump house on the property. She’s willing to let her stay because she’d have trouble renting the space to anyone else at this time of year. When a flood forces Willow out of the rental she’s invited to stay in the spare room of the main house. Laura has concerns about Willow’s influence over Beth who recently seems to be acting out quite often. Even more disturbing is when Willow’s mother appears at the front door one night. Laura suddenly has a lot to deal with in addition to working full-time.
Rosy Thornton’s layered story of Willow, Laura and Beth unfolds at an even pace that kept me turning the pages. Assumptions and suspicions are revealed and play out in ways I’m happy to say were unpredictable. That’s something I’ve found true in Thornton’s other novels as well.
Ninepins is a thoughtful and realistic drama that touches on single parents, step-families, social welfare issues and more – book groups would find several topics for discussion. I enjoyed Ninepins and look forward to Rosy Thornton’s next book.
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the author. I was not compensated for my review.