I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland
Published by Polygon on August 6, 2020
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Sarah Sutherland wanted to be an archaeologist but now she is struggling to cope with the demands of work and caring for her elderly father, who has his own secret troubles.Her fascination with the past still remains, and she feels a special affinity with Alie Gowdie, the Kilgour Witch, who lived in Sarah's cottage until her unjust execution for sorcery during the Civil War.As Alie and Sarah's stories collide, can Sarah uncover the truth in order to right a centuries old wrong? And what else might modern-day Kilgour be hiding, just out of sight?
How much do you trust the past? This is the predominant theme in Sight Unseen. When mother of one, supermarket manager, carer and history enthusiast, Sarah is stuck in a rut. Her dream career and life never came to fruition due to the uncertainty of life. She’s the safe one, never pushing the boundaries of responsibility or willing to take a risk of any kind. Little does she know a wayward employee who keeps pushing her to the limit will awaken something that she didn’t know was missing. Sometimes these encounters are catalysts for change.
Sight Unseen was magical. It felt like a siren call. What mother hasn’t got to a certain point in their life and felt a bit stagnant? The mundane routine, the constant responsibility of being a mother and spontaneity never being part of a mother’s vocabulary can grind you down. It spoke to me on a deeper level.
This was a super original plot. A mystery of the past that was getting solved in the present. The burning of a witch that was perpetrated form a minister with a vendetta in mind. Sarah knows the story isn’t everything that it seems and aims to right the wrong that has been done to her in the method of her history tours. She’s in a special position of knowing a little something about her subject, Alie Gowdie, being a resident in the woman’s former home.
What really became of Alie in Sight Unseen? As history has proven, these unfortunate women weren’t really witches, they are just women that had interest in the unusual, were outspoken or didn’t want to conform to its society’s norms. An old journal of the minister in question, William Wilkie is discovered. Will this give Sarah an element of truth or will it be a version of the truth that panders to the minister’s own agenda? The setting and the atmosphere was hypnotising. It added another layer to the razor-sharp narrative.
Told through both Sarah and her father John’s perspective we are given the complexities of relationships between parent and child and the decline of the parent’s health. The toll it takes on both, the added responsibility and the mental strain it ultimately causes. We see how they see each other through each other’s eyes. It was heart-breaking at points but necessary and beautifully done. They had to fall slightly apart in order to be reconnected…a thread holding them together, the carer, Grant.
Grant, the young man with a troubled past. Sarah, judging him by idle gossip and pre-ordained misconceptions about him. Has a run in and he ends up leaving her employ. She believes he’s out to cause her harm ends up taking up a job as a private carer for her father. She is made to eat her words as he proves to be the making of her dad. Ultimately, you shouldn’t judge someone on initial impressions.
Sight Unseen left me completely gripped. I held my kindle for dear life and flew through the pages at an astounding rate. I devoured this book in a matter of hours and will be recommending it to all my mystery loving friends!
Thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Group for my spot on the blog tour and for organising the media pack for our use. Always a pleasure.
ABOUT SANDRA IRELAND
For many years, I thought I’d been born ON Doncaster Racecourse. This was not the case, but the result of classic parental misdirection. “You were born there, Sandra!” Ma and Pa would cry, waving at the TV screen whenever the St Leger was on. I was nine before I realised they meant the town, not the racecourse. I do love horses though.
Growing up, we moved to North Yorkshire (a garden with fruit trees and room for the pony I never got), to Sheffield (a newbuild beside a Gothic Rectory) and Northumberland (old castles, stepping stones in the river).
After dropping out of uni at 18, I ran off to Éire to live The Good Life (goats, pigs, chickens) before returning to Scotland with two children and a pile of
skulls skills I’ll probably never use again. A stint as an heraldic artist and a café owner followed, before the writing bug bit deep.
It was always my mother’s wish that I go back to education, and I eventually did, at a time when most folks are calculating their pensions. I’m a great believer in following your heart. Age shouldn’t get in the way of being creative or achieving your dreams. I began writing fiction after my Mum died as a way of coping with grief, and that led to me enrolling at the University of Dundee as a mature student. Studying wasn’t easy, and I did an early morning cleaning job before lectures in order to make ends meet. I graduated in 2013 with a First Class Honours degree in English and Creative Writing, and went on the study for the Mlitt in Writing Practice and Study with the help of Carnegie- Cameron Scholarship.