- Title: Charity
- Author: Madeline Dewhurst
- Publisher: Lightning Books on April 26, 2021
- Genre: General Fiction
- Pages: 256
- Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
- Rating: 4/5
Trigger Warnings: Torture, Rape, Murder, Racism, Mentions of Domestic and Child Abuse
Many thanks to Damppebbles Blog Tours and Madeline Dewhurst for providing me with a digital copy of Charity with a request for an honest review.
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Edith, an elderly widow with a large house in an Islington garden square, needs a carer. Lauren, a nail technician born in the East End, needs somewhere to live. A rent-free room in lieu of pay seems the obvious solution, even though the pair have nothing in common.
Or do they? Why is Lauren so fascinated by Edith’s childhood in colonial Kenya? Is Paul, the handsome lodger in the basement, the honest broker he appears? And how does Charity, a Kenyan girl brutally tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion, fit into the equation?
Capturing the spirited interplay between two women divided by class, generation and a deeper gulf from the past, and offering vivid flashbacks to 1950s East Africa, Madeline Dewhurst’s captivating debut spins a web of secrets and deceit – where it’s not always obvious who is the spider and who is the fly.
I wasn’t sure about this book as I read through the first few chapters because of the blatant racism. I wasn’t sure I could stomach the hate. But, I kept going with it, and I am thrilled that I did. Madeline Dewhurst brings it all together with the introduction of Charity.
Edith is a bitch. I am sorry to be vulgar, but there is no other way to explain her. I think Dewhurst’s goal was for the reader to feel sorry for her, but she is an awful person. I had no sympathy for her whatsoever. I didn’t like Lauren much either until right at the end. To be honest, there are no redeeming qualities in any of the living characters in this book.
However, Charity’s story makes the whole story worth reading. The atrocities done to her in the name of England made you love her. I couldn’t help but want to hold her and rock her through the torture. I was the most upset that we didn’t get to know her in life. Her death was heartbreaking.
The ending redeemed Lauren in my eyes. The ending is what turned this 3-star book into a 4-star book for me. I recommend that you give this a read if you get a chance. I promise it is worth it.
About the Author – Madeline Dewhurst
Madeline Dewhurst studied English at Queen’s University Belfast and went on to complete an MA in Research and a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She is an academic in English and Creative Writing at the Open University.
Her previous writing includes fiction, journalism and drama. Charity, which was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, is her first novel.
She now lives in Kent.