I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Gosling Girl. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book.
Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again.
When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again.
Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done.
The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is co-opted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.
To say I loved this book would be doing it a disservice as it would not convey all of the emotions this novel took me through. I felt happiness, sadness, anger, fear – sometimes all in the space of one page and I really appreciate the writing talent that allows the author to create a situation and characters that make me feel this way.
It is interesting that Roy has presented The Gosling Girl from the perspective of the person who was convicted. By showing the “human” side to Michelle Cameron, Roy was able to make me feel sympathy for her. I was never sure that she was completely reliable but I did root for her and hope that she could turn her life around. I felt her relationship with Natalie Tyler provided a fascinating dynamic which was explored thoroughly. Zoe was also able to get under my skin – she irritated me so much and I did not feel I could trust her! I am in awe of the author’s ability to create characters like this to allow me to keep thinking about them even when I was not reading.
There are so many layers to The Gosling Girl and I really appreciated the way it shone a light on our society at the moment. As a white reader, I don’t feel able to comment on the racism, except to say I was horrified by it. Roy is clearly drawing on her own experience as she explores this issue and it gave me so much to think about as I was reading.
The Gosling Girl is available from Amazon.
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