Title: Untouchable Things
Author: Tara Guha
Publication Date: 1 September 2015
Publisher: Legend Press
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Today is my turn on the blog tour for the fantastic Untouchable Things by Tara Guha. Please keep reading and don’t forget to check out the other stops on this tour from some of my fellow bloggers, schedule as listed below.
For the third time this week he is watching her scream.
Watching, not listening.
Rebecca Laurence is centre stage and shining in her role as Ophelia. She pivots, rotating like a ballerina impaled in a musical box, red hair cascading down her back. Amidst the thundering applause, one man is watching.
Rebecca meets the charismatic Seth Gardner, and as attraction grows between them, he invites her to join his Friday Folly, a group of artistic friends. But as Rebecca is drawn into the web of tangled relationships all is not as it appears. The scene is set for the night that will rip the group apart.
Consumed by loss and surrounded by secrets, Rebecca must escape the grip of the Folly to have any chance of saving herself. Meanwhile, one man continues to watch.
The book has a unique structure. Rather than chapters, the book is split into Acts and Scenes as in a play. The switch from one character to another will commence with an excerpt from a police interview, including the specific character’s response, followed by some story-telling in a more traditional manner. There are even a few sections where part of a scene is told in a script format. The unusual format leaves the reader in little doubt that the book is merely setting the scene for a shocking event that is still to come. It also proves to be an effective way of moving the story forward and providing necessary background information that would not sit comfortably within the main prose.
Rebecca – an upcoming star of the London theatre, a beautiful, graceful, talented red-haired temptress feeling stunted in a long distance relationship and with a strong resemblance someone from Seth’s past
Catherine – a timid character with a huge talent as a pianist and fiercely protective of Seth
Michael – a moralistic teacher, wary of Seth’s charms and intentions
Anna – a blunt Northern Irish woman with an fear of returning home to her family
Jose – an artistic Spaniard with a sordid past
Jake – a ‘wide boy’, Londoner, somewhat out of place in the group
Charles – Seth’s university friend. A quiet, sensible and loyal man
The reader is aware from the very first scene that something serious has happened, however we do not find out what that event is until nearing the end of the book. It is a slow reveal which means that the reader has to invest in the book before they understand what the story is really about! I liked that air of mystery and it was for that reason that I had to keep reading. I needed to know more.
My only possible criticism is that there may have been too many issues that remained unexplained by the end of the story. I would have liked to be able to tie up a few more loose ends. However, I have a suspicion that if all those issues were neatly concluded, the book would not have the quite the same level of intrigue and suspense that makes it so utterly enthralling .
Overall, an absolutely fantastic debut and likely to remain one of my top reads of 2016!
About the Author
Tara Guha was born to an Indian father and English mother and spent her childhood in the Ribble Valley, passing many a wet day writing poetry and music. After studying English at Cambridge she embarked on a career in the classical music industry in London, promoting artists including Placido Domingo, Paul McCartney and Dudley Moore. Over the years she has also been a freelance journalist, charity worker and has trained as a counsellor.
Tara won the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2014 and her first novel, Untouchable Things, will be published on 1 September 2015. She is also a keen amateur pianist, singer and song-writer and lives in the hills of West Yorkshire with her partner and two daughters. The question she is asked most is “Where are you *from*?” She still hasn’t quite worked out how to answer that one.