The Somnambulist by Essie Fox was March’s book club read and one of which we were all in agreement that we were greatly underwhelmed by. With the theme of a Victorian music hall, we presumed that the novel would be greatly based around this, however this was only done in passing and we feel we would have been more impressed with the novel, if it had (and would have learnt something from the book which members suggested had happened in previous books).
We found that the novel was something we couldn’t get lost within as the characters were one dimensional and members thought it was a poor man’s Wilkie Collins. The plot was full of cliches and some thought it came across as seedy and grim and the writing a little clunky, with the sex scene being used as a token tick box.
We found the writing style a little over indulgent and found it a little odd that it changed from third to first person in one particular section.
We also discussed the significance of the red and white theme running through the novel. One member came to the conclusion that red signified blood and hurt (with several scenes being referred to in the book). With the White signifying purity (the innocence of some characters).
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve read worse books but all in all, we found this a disappointing read.