Blackmoor is a small mining village in Derbyshire, England. The book is set during the 1990s, a time of fast decline for the mining industry, which eventually ends in the closure of the pit. The tight-nit community struggle to deal with the loss of employment, but have the added problem of methane building up beneath their homes.
Vincent is a teenager growing up surrounded by these problems, but the mystery of his past is a more pressing concern for him. Why did his mother die? Why is his father so distant from him?
The book flicks backwards and forwards, slowly revealing his mother’s secrets and snippets of Vincent’s confused life.
Vincent’s mother, Beth, is an amazing character. She is an albino, suffers from post-natal depression and is the source of much gossip within the village. The depiction of her strange behaviour was always respectful and gave a great insight into the mind of someone suffering from this type of depression.
Vincent was also amazingly well drawn. The confusion and innocence of a teenager’s mind was perfectly captured.
This is a really good book. The writing is simple, but it grabs your attention from the start. It is packed with twists and turns and had a very satisfying ending.
If you’d like to find out more about a very different side to English life then this is a great choice – it’s a really good first novel, and I will be looking out for more books from this author in the future.