Jess Richards's debut is a cornucopia of secrets and surprises, written in a bright, sassy style. The author is exuberantly inventive in creating a bitter-sweet world of magical transformations.
A terrific story, quirky and wildly original.
Richards handles her ambitions with aplomb. SNAKE ROPES is partly an extended meditation on trauma and healing, and the trauma is handled so well that the reader is exactly as upset as she needs to be to follow through...SNAKE ROPES reminds us that the act of storytelling is in itself a form of resolution.
Richards skilfully alternates between Mary and Morgan and their stories, touching on themes such as the transmission of folk wisdom, the creation of myths and violence against women.
From the islanders' subtle Creole to their myths of sea and sky and earth, Jess Richards has nurtured a remarkable community, their home glimpsed in the sea-mist like a new Avalon. Angela Carter or Laura Esquivel would have been proud of this.
A mystical book where a harsh self-sufficient lifestyle meets myths, legends and magic . . . an unusual, haunting debut novel.