Wednesday 19 October 2016

Book Review: The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

The Hidden People was a book that I heard about back in May at the Headline and Quercus Autumn highlights event and I was very intrigued to read it.

Lizzie Higgs has been burnt by her husband who believed her to be a changeling, a fairy who was not part of this world. But is she actually a changeling as her husband thought she was? When her cousin Albert hears of her death, despite having only met her once, he takes it upon himself to go to Yorkshire to sort out her affairs, feeling guilty he did not make more of an effort to see her when she was alive. However once there the mystery surrounding her death is not something Albert can't ignore, but in a place where superstition and reality are blurred, he begins to wonder if the hidden people are more real than he thinks.

The Hidden People had a very Victorian Gothic vibe and reminded me very much of Wuthering Heights, which actually has a side role in this story. This was also very much felt in the atmosphere that was created around the story. It really did have that mysterious and eery feel to the story. It felt as if at any moment a fairy would appear and like Albert, our sense of what was real and what was unreal started to become questionable.

The villagers in Halfoak always remain elusive to Albert and the reader, this is in part due to Albert's snobbishness, but we learn enough to know that the characters are shifty and not to be trusted. There is always that sense of unease and the not knowing what to believe. 

Although we already know who Lizzie's murderer is, we still don't know how exactly her murder came about. The mystery unfolds gradually and whilst this had it good points, there was a stage where I did want the story to reach it's climax as it seemed to be skirting around the edges a bit too much.

You never know what to believe whilst reading this and the ending came as quite the surprise and everything suddenly fitted into place. Although the pace was a little bit too slow for my liking, the book creates a fantastic atmosphere and a was pleasantly surprised with the ending. If you are looking for an eery read this Halloween, then The Hidden People makes for the perfect read.

The Hidden People is out now and is available from Foyles.

Don't forget to curl up with your favourite cup of Twinings tea as well! 

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