“I swore that I would never go home,
but in the end, I had no choice.
I had to confront what happened.
And them too.
It was going be icky. And totally scary.”
Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.
She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself
She had to come home: There was no other choice.
Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.
Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.
Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
A war which can only have one victor.
Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.
I‘ve had A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice on my TBR list for ages but other books kept pushing it further down the pile. What a mistake! I was hooked from the word go (something to do with the fact that the protagonist was wearing a ‘satanic wedding dress, with layers and layers of blue and black lace – with Doc Martins’ ) Brilliant! I so wanted to dress as a Goth when I was younger and never had the courage.
Anyway, enough; this is about Mark Barry’s powerful story of, revenge, conflicting love, heartbreak, great friendship, empathy and strong characters.
This is yet another book that I read while ‘doing domestic trivia’ (though cooking a meal can be a problem – ironing while reading is easy-peasy) I read this book in one session.
I don’t give away spoilers in my reviews and it would be too easy with this book. And, anyway, I think the book blurb says enough
The characters are multi-layered, rounded characters and, for me, are either loved or hated in equal measure (hated Toby Gifford and his mates with a vengeance, loved Carol and Steve.)
The dialogue is so suited to all the characters, though initially I found Carol’s habit of interspersing her language with ‘like’ a little irritating I soon got used to it; it fits her personality. Fascinating internal dialogue from Carol as well; I always had a slight unnerving feeling she could be an unreliable narrator but she won me over time and time again. And I love the interaction between her and Steve, it so emphasises the growing and enduring unusual friendship.
It’s an intriguing plot that caught me unawares in places. And I loved that, even though I was in no doubt Carol would triumph in the end, there were a few ‘wobbly’ moments… and, sadly, one casualty. I’m saying no more!
And great to see a male author write from the perspective from a female protagonist. I can’t remember when I read another book with that angle.
This is a book I could read again and enjoy just as much. Without any doubt whatsoever I recommend A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice to all readers.
Loved the cover by the way.
Buying Links: (Go on, you know you want to)
About the Author:
Mark Barry is a multi-genre contemporary fiction writer who lives in Nottinghamshire, in Great Britain. He writes extraordinary stories about ordinary people.
Two of his books have been best sellers in their time and his most recent, A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice, has attracted rave reviews from everyone who has read it.
He has one son, one tattoo (on his chest), loves horse racing, rock music, and fanatically supports Notts County football club.