Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin. Advance Reader Copy included. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
When Anne Goodwin sent me the blurb of her novel, Sugar and Snails, and asked if I would be interested in reviewing it I was intrigued. It deals with issues that are important to me; mental health and LGBTQ* experiences. I enjoyed Sugar and Snails so much I’m pleased to take part in the blog tour to celebrate the first anniversary of its release.
A trip to Cairo changed Diana Dodsworth’s life when she was fifteen. A change that has resulted in Diana keeping people at a distance ever since. This was working until she met Simon Jenkins. He’s heading to Cairo soon and wants Diana to fly out for a visit. Diana doesn’t want to return to Cairo, but she can’t tell Simon the reason why.
It’s difficult to talk about this novel fully without giving too much away. Although set in the present, the inclusion of flashbacks to Diana’s adolescence and the fateful trip to Cairo give the reader a broader picture of Diana. Even if they don’t yet fully understand what happened. Telling the story this way allows the reader to pick up on clues before the big reveal. The big reveal isn’t the end of the story. It is very much the beginning of a new chapter in Diana’s life.
Anne Goodwin’s writing is clever, a couple of times I thought I had things figured out but was proven wrong. When the penny did drop I was impressed with the layers Goodwin wrapped the plot in. It’s possible that different readers will guess what’s going on at different points throughout the novel. Some may not figure it out for themselves. Either way, Sugar and Snails is a novel that while slow moving grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.
To say Sugar and Snails is a coming-of-age story doesn’t quite do it justice, but it’s the closest comparison I can think of. Anne Goodwin writes about LGBTQ* experiences and mental health with great empathy and insight and Diana Dodsworth is a character that lingers long after you’ve turned the final page.
About the author
Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill and longlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, is scheduled for publication in May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 60 published short stories. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.