|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on February 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM|
When I received this book to review, I expected a Victorian drama with some interesting British Columbian history added for good measure. As I read the book my thoughts went something like this.... "this is ok"....."this is interesting, I like the main character, she's got spunk"..... "this is a bit of all right, the history about Cumberland is quite fascinating"...... "Oooo now this is something"....... "what the heck just happened"...... "Wow what an ending!"
Bucket of Blood was not entirely what I was expecting. It had the Bucket of Blood, it's the name of the local drinking hole (and trust me, I'm not giving anything away), and it had the British Columbia history – specifically about the little town of Cumberland. The historical and fictional drama came from the local population, the miners, the Chinese population and the transient workers. But the main story, which at first seems to be the lovely portrayal of a 15 year old girl with a different outlook on how to be a woman in the backwoods of Canada in the Victorian period, takes on a very dark twist.
Amaryllis is the daughter of a local doctor and a mother who's said to be mad. Sadly, the reader only gets to know her mother through flashbacks because, as the book begins, she and her sister are getting dressed for her funeral. Her sister Violet is slightly older and always concerned with social niceties. Amaryllis, most often called Lizzie throughout the story, would now be called a tomboy. In the Victorian period she was just odd. She was allowed from an early age to wear trousers and go where she pleased. She was encouraged to ask questions and learn more than was normal for a girl of good standing who only needed to know those things to make her a fine marriage and a good wife.
The death of Lizzie's mother becomes the catalyst for a chain of events that leads to a very unexpected and brilliant end to the book. The journey there is long and twisted and Lizzie's story is not the one I would have imagined. The author has given us a grand opportunity to see things through the eyes and mind of her main character. Lizzie very much reminds me of a young female Sherlock Holmes, including all of the mental complexities that make him so brilliant.
While this story is fantastic for adults, I'm going to also encourage my girls to read it. They both read a lot of young adult fiction where the female character is strong, but still considered a beauty and a catch. Where the main male character is big and strong and virtuous and together they save the day, or their school, or their relationship. This story is very different and Lizzie is not your average young adult fictional character. This story will intrigue the girls and expand their minds!
I highly recommend Bucket of Blood. It is a fine piece of Canadian literature with interesting local history during the Victorian period, characters you can sink your teeth into and a story that will have you wide-eyed by the end... Seriously, that's what I looked like as I came to the end of the story.
You can fnd out more and purchase Bucket of Blood HERE