Having enjoyed Spare And Found Parts a while ago, I was excited about reading Sarah Maria Griffin’s latest novel, Other Words For Smoke, which was published earlier this month. And with its promise of a magical coming of age tale, I was intrigued to see how this story would unfold.
From the opening paragraphs this was a book that intrigued me, as we learn that Rita Frost and her teenage ward Bevan Mulholland disappeared. The circumstances were something of a mystery and subject to speculation, and there are only two people who knew the truth. Mae and her twin brother Rossa had spent a couple of summers with Rita, and these summers were certainly memorable, with strange goings on within the walls of the house. I was intrigued by this house where nothing is at is seems, and there was a sense of foreboding with dark powers lurking behind the walls, and unusual creatures that provide a few surprises for the siblings. During this time we also see the relationships develop between Mae and Bevan, and how Mae finds herself caught up in a mysterious and magical world.
The premise of this story is an interesting one, and I liked the use of the magical world and the mysterious creatures which added an otherworldly feel to the story. The novel is split into parts, covering each of the two summers along with vignettes from other summers. This switching through time helps adds different layers and perspectives to the story, along with providing more insight into each of the characters. The characters themselves are pretty interesting, and alongside what is a chilling, mysterious tale this is a story about women and particularly women growing up in Ireland, and the challenges they face. This is an intriguing coming of age tale, and one which captures the intricacies of adolescence. This was an entertaining read which kept my attention, as I read on in interest to see how the characters journeys would unfold, and how they are all impacted by Sweet James, the dangerous presence that lurks within the walls…
Other Words For Smoke is another entertaining story from Sarah Maria Griffin which includes complex characters and glimpse inside a dark and magical world. It was published on 4th April 2019 by Titan Books with thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.