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The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley: The spellbinding BBC Between the Covers book club pick

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It’s great appeal lies in the fact that while there are elements of the fantastical – the title speaks to the eponymous young protagonist’s ability to divine the soul and future life course of a person simply by touching them – and the expansively imaginative, it is also content to spend much time as needed with its characters, allowing them to tell their story without hurry or interruption and with full emotional effect. I liked how when a new character appeared, so did a description of them. It cemented each one in my mind straight away. The story isn’t just set in England, it travels much further through a perilous Europe. The weeks and months that it took kept me rooted in the 1700s. These days we forget just how big the world is. It is unusual yet totally captivating with an interesting plot and good pacing. All the characters were intriguing and although the main focus is on Zachary Cloudesley and his father Abel the side characters also had such intetesting and different tales to tell and yet their lives were inextricably linked.

Whatever it may be, it changes his world considerably, being the reason why he is able to escape terrible misfortune on more than occasion and leading him to the greatest discovery of his life – that men, not women, are the spark that lights the fuse of his nascent sexuality. Zachary] is also the bearer of an extraordinary gift; at the touch of a hand, Zachary can see into the hearts and minds of the people he meets." This plays actually less of a role than you'd think given it is mentioned in the short description. The actual time in the book this would have been useful to him its not working and that's sort of briefly hummed over and then not again. Using lively prose and filled with intriguing characters, this is an enjoyable and imaginative debut." - The TimesHistory Makers: Female Writers Dominate the 2023 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award Shortlist

courtesy Penguin Random House) If really good sci-fi is all about to taking a great big, long, hard look at the dark soul of humanity, and the best of it is, then Voyaging Vol. 1 – The Plague Star by George R R Martin with art and adaptation by Raya Continue Reading A beautifully crafted historical mystery that will take the reader from 18th century London, across Europe and, finally, to the bustling city of Constantinople." also isn't entirely accurate because Constantinople again plays a fairly minor role in the grand scheme of the book. It's not finally ends in Constantinople, mystery solved and the story wraps up. That's almost a mid point and after they return to England. I would say the book spends more time discussing Mrs Morley on Lundey than in Constantinople. Abel is devoted to Zachary but doesn’t understand him at all. His unusual young apprentice, Tom, tries to explain the boy in a language Abel will understand. Growing up amongst the cogs and springs of his father's workshop, Zachary is intensely curious, ferociously intelligent, unwittingly funny and always honest - perhaps too honest. But when a fateful accident leaves six-year-old Zachary nearly blinded, Abel is convinced that the safest place for his son is in the care of his eccentric Aunt Frances and her menagerie of weird and wonderful animals. Zachary, plagued by visions, knows he has to find his father. An adventure begins that will also take him to Constantinople.

But then a near-fatal accident will take Zachary away from the workshop and his family. His father will have to make a journey that he will never return from. And, years later, only Zachary can find out what happened. Longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2023 and the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2023. His father will have to make a journey to Constantinople that he will never return from" which is not entirely true and doesn't happen until just over the halfway point in the book. "And, years later, only Zachary can find out what happened." but the readers find out well before Zachary does. He is also the bearer of an extraordinary gift; at the touch of a hand, Zachary can see into the hearts and minds of the people he meets. In the beginning, I really liked this story and read the first half in a few days, but I felt it lost it's way about halfway through and it took me over a month to finish it off.

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