Rating: 4/5 stars
“In 1665, in the Derbyshire village of Eyam, the tailor, George Vicars orders a bolt of fabric from London to make a wedding dress for his betrothed daughter, Kathryn. To escape her fate of marrying the town’s wealthiest and most odious bachelor, she elopes with her true love, farmhand Paul Foster. Kathryn’s departure is fortuitous, because when the fabric is delivered, the parcel is infested with fleas carrying bubonic plague. First bitten and first to die, George Vicars’ misfortune becomes the community’s death sentence when the town Rector boldly imposes a quarantine on all Eyam residents. Months later, expecting a child, the newlyweds return home to find their world turned upside down. Once inside the township, they are forbidden to leave and Kathryn is forced to give birth in quarantine. Under the shadow plague, and against all odds, Will Foster’s paternal ancestor is born . . . with a genetic mutation that will change the world 345 years later.”
I’ve been reading quite a few short stories and novellas lately and, I’ll be honest, they’ve not been all that impressive on the whole. Needless to say, I started ‘Ring of Flowers’ with a pretty low expectation. I am pleased to say that I underestimated it.
The first few paragraphs told me that this was going to be a good read, something that’s pretty important when you only have a limited number of pages! The writing style was comfortable. The tone suggested the historical setting without being clumsy and it pretty much instantly drew you in, in that regard.
The characters themselves were surprisingly well developed in such a short space. It felt like each of the characters was a three dimensional real person. As opposed to being pawns playing out the storyline – a flaw I feel a lot of short story prequel things contain – they were real people living it.
The story was just right for the length. There were a couple of clear threads and it at no point felt rushed or drawn out.
Having written the above, I feel a bit bad only giving this piece four stars. I guess the fact is that, because it’s a novella, it’s hard to really get into it and for the story to have the ‘wow factor’ of a five star piece. It is well worth the read, however, and I’ll certainly be looking at reading The Calypso Directive when I get a moment!
I downloaded this book for free on Amazon and it was worth it so go, download it now.