Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Review: Solace of the Road

My first thought when I saw this book was how pretty the cover is. I love the dress (or skirt). "Solace of the Road" was released in 2009 but the new rejacketed version (as seen on the left) is released Spring 2010. Unfortunately, Siobhan Dowd passed away in 2007 because of cancer. So when you buy a book that's written by Siobhan Dowd, the royalties will go to the Siobhan Dowd Trust. The Siobhan Dowd Trust aims to bring the joy of reading and stories to children who have no access to books and reading, especially children in care and other unfairly disadvantaged young people.

Here is the blurb for Solace of the Road:
I put the wig on and I thought myself into Solace. I was Solace the Unstoppable, the smooth-walking, sharp-talking glamour girl, and I was heading into a red sky thumb out and fag in hand.

Holly is sick of being told what to do. She's ditching her old life and she's heading off. She puts on her blonde wig, blows herself a kiss and flutters her eyelashes. And now she's ready. She's Solace, Solace of the road.

I wasn't at all sure of what this book was about when I read the blurb. However, when I started reading things started making sense. The first chapter starts off at certain event. And then the next chapters are from beforehand and what has lead up to the event. Once you've caught up with the story, the story progresses. I prefer books where you just enjoy the story as it progresses and the time unravels in a linear way. Otherwise, I'm just waiting until I've caught up the entire time. However, I was intrigued as to how Holly had got in to her current predicament.

The main character is Holly. Holly was taken away by social services when she was young and has grown up in care. She has previously been fostered by a couple before who had other children and hated it. Holly's deepest desire is to meet her mam in Ireland. She has a key worker who she really likes but he has to leave. Holly is really insecure and struggles with her emotions. She is fostered by a new couple but she doesn't believe they really want her. Holly as a character is okay if you're reading because you can understand her emotions. But I imagine if you met her in real life you might get frustrated.

We aren't really told why Holly was taken by social services apart from her own reasoning. However, as the story progresses you get the impression that she has less than stellar memories. But she shoves them in to a box in her mind. The story unfolds quite quickly which I like. I don't feel like I'm waiting around for something to happen.

I enjoyed this story and I really liked the ending. I've had mixed feelings over some of Siobhan Dowd's work before having loved "Bog Child" but not being as keen on "A Swift Pure Cry". Overall, I would recommend this book. I'm interested in becoming a social worker when I'm older so this book was particularly interesting to me. I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I didn't really like A Swift Pure Cry either so I'm a little hesitant to give this a go. I do love the cover though!

  2. I'm about 70 pages in to this and I'm not really sure what I think about it. It actually feels quite Jaqueline Wilson-esque to me!

  3. Great review, Kate, I loved hearing your thoughts on this!

  4. I haven't read anything by Siobhan Dowd before but this is in my TBR pile and it sounds pretty intriguing. Thanks for this review, it's given me a good idea of what to expect and I'm looking forward to starting it.

  5. Hi, and sorry for the intromission...
    I'm doing a final research work for school, called "from paper to screen", about film adaptations.
    If you -or anyone who read this- could do this survey, i'd be very grateful! Thanks!

  6. i really like a swift pure cry and ryt now, im readin this book(solace of the road), im on page 100+ where Solace met Tony. Im getting kind of interested in this book but i think 'A Swift Pure Cry' is better ;)

  7. I haven't read anything by Siobhan Dowd before but this is in my TBR pile and it sounds pretty intriguing. Thanks for this review, it's given me a good idea of what to expect and I'm looking forward to starting it.
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