Review: ‘The Coward’s Tale’ by Vanessa Gebbie

Earlier this week, the blog hosted a brilliant post from Vanessa Gebbie on what writing ‘The Coward’s Tale’ had taught her. I was lucky enough to get a copy to review and I can say what an original read it is.

‘The Coward’s Tale’ features Laddy Merridew, a young boy sent to a small Welsh mining village to live with his grandmother, who forges an unlikely friendship with the town beggar, the eccentric Ianto Passchendaele Jenkins. Through Ianto’s stories, Laddy learns more and more about the village and its inhabitants, and the disaster that shaped the community.

I love Ianto’s benevolent omnipotence, he knows everything about everyone and is willing to tell it just for a little human kindness. Each of Ianto’s stories, about different residents of Kindly Light, are poetic and unique.

The rhythm and cadence in Vanessa Gebbie’s writing is beautiful, she spins an old-fashioned yarn that absolutely embodies the village of Kindly Light. Her exploration of village life, how grudges are carried down the generations and secrets hidden is really original. Gebbie captures an array of characters and explores people’s’ good and bad sides.

In ‘The Coward’s Tale’ there is many different stories, each interlinking with the next. Each individual character’s story is different but linked by a tragedy that haunts the village. Gebbie manages to make her stories funny, sad and uplifting – no mean feat.

‘The Coward’s Tale’ is a story that anyone – of any age – will enjoy.

Vic x


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