Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Ninepins by Rosy Thornton
Sandstone Press
April 2012
Format: Paperback, 320 pages

First line: Half past two: she was certain she'd said half past two.

From the back cover: Deep in the Cambridgeshire fens, Laura is living alone with her 12-year old daughter Beth, in the old tollhouse known as Ninepins. She's in the habit of renting out the pumphouse, once a fen drainage station, to students, but this year she's been persuaded to take in 17-year-old Willow, a care-leaver with a dubious past, on the recommendation of her social worker, Vince. 

Is Willow dangerous or just vulnerable? It's possible she was once guilty of arson; her mother's hippy life is gradually revealed as something more sinister; and Beth is in trouble at school and out of it. Laura's carefully ordered world seems to be getting out of control. 

With the tension of a thriller, NINEPINS explores the idea of family, and the volatile and changing relationships between mothers and daughters, in a landscape that is beautiful but - as they all discover - perilous.

My thoughts: This is the second book that I've read by Rosy Thornton and I am a fan. Her writing is beautiful and compelling. While Ninepins is a bit darker than The Tapestry of Love, I was caught up in the tale right away and had a hard time putting the book down.

Laura is a single mother who has suddenly found her life to be much more complicated than it was before. She find herself dealing not only with a daughter on the cusp of her teenage years, but also a tenant who is nothing more than a troubled teenager on the cusp of adulthood. As Laura struggles to come to terms with all these changes - mostly those dealing with her daughter, but also at times, those dealing with Willow - she finds herself turning to Vince, Willow's social worker, for help and advice. As you might expect, a relationship develops between Laura and Vince, but what I like about this relationship is that it never takes center stage. 

At it's simplest, this is a book about three women that end up living together. They all have to adapt their attitudes and learn to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of the others. Without giving away anything, there are certain events that occur that cause the tension to be really high at times and this is what gives the book that thriller-like feeling. 

Now having read two of Rosy Thornton's books and liking how different they were from each other, I will definitely be checking out her other books. Have you read anything by her?

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I really enjoyed it!



  1. I'm reading Ninepins right now! I really liked Tapestry of Love. The first of Ms. Thornton's books that I read was Crossed Wires - loved it!

    1. I loved Tapestry of Love...will have to check out Crossed Wires. Thanks for the suggestion!!!

  2. I loved Ninepins, too (as well as The Tapestry of Love); and I can't wait for her next one. I'm sure Ninepins will be on my list of favorites for the year. Thanks for your review.


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