Book Review- Unspeakable

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Title- Unspeakable
Author- Dilys Rose
Published- March 9th 2017
Genre- Historical fiction/literary fiction
Length- 288 pages
Rating- 2.75/5

Synopsis (Amazon)- Based on a true case, a young man pays the ultimate price for saying what he thinks in this masterful historical novel by a writer at the height of her powers. Edinburgh in the late 17th century is the centre of religious authoritarianism, intolerance and fear. The flames of the city’s famous Enlightenment are yet to burn. Based on the true story of Thomas Aikenhead, this is the fictional account of a 20 year-old student who was the last person in Britain to be tried and executed for blasphemy.

Review- I was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher for review, so thank you to them.

This is a difficult book to rate and for such a short book it took me a long time to get through, I very nearly gave up on it multiple times. The story is ok, nothing spectacular, but ok. The language is the main issue.

The dialogue is written as though every character has an incredibly strong Scottish accent,  and can be very difficult to understand. The more I read at once the more I got used to the language but even then there were times where it was difficult to understand, I could be half way through a chapter before I knew what was going on. I imagine those with no experience of the Scottish accent would struggle with the language even more than I did.

In terms of story, the first few chapters were a struggle, and some seemed completely unrelated to the previous ones. Even once I got used to the dialogue it seemed like there wasn’t really a lot going on, a whole chapter would be about the most minor thing. About a third of the way through things started to get a little more interesting.

In terms of character development it was mixed, though overall not great. There are a few snippets of information about the family members but that is all it is in most cases, snippets. There is a little more when it comes to Thomas, one of his sisters, and a couple of other male characters, but basically nothing with many others beyond their name and a little dialogue. The book is told in three parts and in the third part this did change a little but I think it would have been nice to know more about the family members in particular, and they were minimally featured in this part of the book.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this book to the majority of people. If you like a bit of history and think you can make it through the dialogue then by all means give it a try but I think many will find this a frustrating read.

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