Book Review: The Ragged Valley

This feature is in association with NetGalley.

The Ragged Valley by Joanne Clague

Many thanks to both NetGalley and to Canelo for letting me see an advance reader’s copy of The Ragged Valley.

Set against the great Sheffield flood of 1864, this novel is the first in a new Sheffield saga series.

Not looking forward to a life of farming, Silas travels to the town hoping to find an apprenticeship at the steelworks. Thankful to her aunt and uncle for taking her and her brother in when their parents died, Harriet resigns herself to living a life of servitude. In anticipation of a life of glory, engineer John Gunson has just completed his flagship dam.

And then the dam bursts.

This novel follows the survivors of the disaster as they first of all try to cope with the devastation of the dam bursting, and then as they try to rebuild their lives.

I liked pretty much everything about this novel, but in particular I enjoyed the scenery and trying to place where everything was in the greater Sheffield area that I know. There were a couple of characters I didn’t like at all, but I wasn’t supposed to like them. Great characterisation. What would I do differently? I think I would have included a hand-drawn map to help the reader get their bearings.

In all, a lovely book, a lovely story, and I’m interested to see what happens in Book 2.

Five stars.