I was fortunate to receive ‘Sail Upon the Land’ in a small competition run by the author. This review represents my honest opinions.
Without giving away plot spoilers, the story concerns four women in the same family over several decades and explores the meaning of family (especially motherhood), love and truth.
Initially after the prologue, the structure took me a little while to adjust to as it moves backwards and forwards rapidly through different eras and timescales. However, I soon realised this is one of the book’s strengths, creating a rich tapestry of entirely historically accurate hooks that entrap the reader, drawing them in. I felt this was one of the most well researched and intelligent novels I had read in some time. The social and cultural references are never clumsy, but serve to create atmosphere and depth to the lives of Sarah, Melissa, Damson and Mellita. Each word contributes to a highly evocative picture. I think what really works well is that every human sense is catered for in the descriptions so the reader almost experiences first hand the things the characters experience.
I found ‘Sail Upon the Land’ a totally absorbing story. Each of the four main female characters is drawn with real understanding so that I felt I knew them well, cared about them and found myself thinking of them when I wasn’t actually reading the book. In fact, it took me some time to read as the writing deserves to be savoured and appreciated.
‘Sail Upon the Land’ put me in mind of a reunion with someone I love, sharing an old photo album and reliving the stories of our joint past. If I say that Josa Young has managed to reduce me to tears with her writing it will show how powerful this novel is. I loved it.