Publisher: Legend Press
Publication date: 2nd May 2017
I took refuge from the world to indulge in the intense and emotive time travel of Little Gold. Its ups and downs chiselled into my soul, as the fallout from the car crash adolescence and its passengers’ ongoing recovery is unquestionably raw.
It encompasses the nostalgic awkwardness of 1980s life when ‘twelve’ should allow you a free ticket to a carefree happy place, even though you feel your life is being scrutinised under an invisible microscope and the whole world is passing judgement. As clarity becomes clouded by self-consciousness, the subtle signs of neglect creep into a family bubble which is already close to bursting.
Between the life wrestling there is also time for reflection, as this story shows becoming acquainted with unfamiliar and trying situations has no age barrier. It revolves around an unlikely partnership formed between the dungaree clad, tree climbing ‘Golden One’ from number 167 and a retired, nicotine loving neighbour, Peggy Baxter, who has her own thoughts to put in order and a journey to share, which stray across the erratic path of Little Gold to give her direction when all seems lost.
The manner in which Little Gold looks out for her asthmatic brother, and her elder sister involuntarily adopts the role of parent to her two younger siblings, is just astoundingly written; nothing is obvious, just the gradual hint of an everyday routine taking the wrong turn down a road where money is directed away from the essentials, like food and washing powder.
Little Gold captures the spirit of an era where Wagon Wheels and Woolworths will be familiar to many. Where a cruel person nowadays has the benefit of social media to chuck anonymous insults at another, previously any offensiveness was shouted across the public spaces for all to hear – different platform, same effect, and all because of differences or ignorance.
There are times this book almost broke me. From the rippling apathy towards affecting circumstances, to the surge of something wicked that preys on innocence, growing up and growing older has never been more heartrending.
(My thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this title. It is my pleasure to provide an unbiased review.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
‘Life affirming and triumphant’ Mark A. Radcliffe
‘Wonderfully moving and atmospheric’ Catherine Hall
‘Vivid and touching… this book left me haunted long after I put it down’ Umi Sinha
‘Brilliantly handled… a great first novel’ Bethan Roberts
‘I found myself engrossed… a vibrant, moving tale’ Alison Smith
The heat is oppressive and storms are brewing in Brighton in the summer of 1982. Little Gold, a boyish girl on the brink of adolescence, is struggling with the reality of her broken family and a home descending into chaos. Her only refuge is the tree at the end of her garden.
Into her fractured life steps elderly neighbour, Peggy Baxter. The connection between the two is instant, but just when it seems that Little Gold has found solace, outsiders appear who seek to take advantage of her frail family in the worst way possible. In an era when so much is hard to speak aloud, can Little Gold share enough of her life to avert disaster? And can Peggy Baxter, a woman running out of time and with her own secrets to bear, recognise the danger before it’s too late?
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
Allie Rogers was born and raised in Brighton.
Allie’s short fiction has been published in several magazines and anthologies including Bare Fiction, Queer in Brighton and The Salt Anthology of New Writing. She has performed at local live literature events including the Charleston Small Wonder Flash Fiction Slam, which she won in 2014.
Little Gold, Allie’s first novel, will be published by Legend Press in 2017. Drawing a great deal on her memories of the Brighton of her childhood, the book is a story of survival and the power of love that comes up through the cracks.
Allie enjoys story in all forms, the magic of a surprising sentence and books that defy categorisation. She is a great believer in hot coffee, listening to waves on a pebble beach and talking to birds.
Allie is a librarian at the University of Brighton and wrote much of Little Gold in computer rooms surrounded by students eating crisps rather too noisily.
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By the way, Allie Rogers is running a wonderful giveaway for a poster and a signed copy of her book with a lucky winner to be drawn on 13th May – click here for her pinned Tweet to enter!