For the eagle-eyed readers amongst you, you may have noticed that The Writing Garnet appears multiple times on the above banner, and you would be correct by noticing that as no, it isn’t an error. You see, this blog tour is for Julia Ibbotson’s ‘The Drumbeats Trilogy’ but, because I am reviewing each of the books individually, I, as well as others, have multiple dates on the tour.
So, whilst this may be my third and final RaRaResources blog tour of the day, it’s my first of three posts for this tour, AND I get to kick off the blog tour as well! Many thanks to Rachel for the blog tour invite and ARC.
First up in the trilogy is ‘Drumbeats’ – here is my review:
It’s 1965 and 18 year old Jess escapes her stifling English background for a gap year in Ghana, West Africa. But it’s a time of political turbulence across the region. Fighting to keep her young love who she believes is waiting back in England, she’s thrown into the physical dangers of civil war, tragedy, and the emotional conflict of a disturbing new relationship. So why do the drumbeats haunt
This is a rite of passage story which takes the reader hand in hand with Jess on her journey towards growing into the adult world.
What does TWG think?
Oh Jess, what have they done to you!!
It didn’t take me long at all to become invested in Jess’ world. At only 18 years of age, Jess had already seen things she shouldn’t have, been made aware of things she shouldn’t have, and be treated in a way that nobody should ever be treated. With all of that in mind, Jess is determined to carve herself a life to be proud of, away from the people who believe her choices to be impossible – so she decides to go to Africa. As you do.
Set in 1965 when things were a lot different to they are now, both in England and overseas, ‘Drumbeats’ explores the tragedies of everyday life in West Africa, as well as the detrimental affects politics had on human life.
Jess’ character is much wiser than her eighteen years suggests. That’s not to say someone of eighteen isn’t wise, but Jess has an extremely old head on young shoulders and her determination to succeed is very endearing and, weirdly, quite frustrating. That’s an odd thing to say really, isn’t it? I was frustrated FOR her. Whilst she wanted to go above and beyond for those in need whether it was during the lessons she taught or whether it was in Accra, she never ever left any of her energy for herself, thus wondering why she ended up being unable to do things for a little while. Her selflessness was her most beautiful trait, yet it was also one which seemed to shoot her in the foot more times than necessary.
When the author took us along on Jess’ journey to Accra, a rock hard lump formed in my throat due to the devastation of how people in Africa, both young and old, lived. I know that they know no different, but why are they being left to die? Left to rot? It certainly opened my eyes to a completely different world outside of the bubble we live in here in the UK. It was hard to read, I won’t lie, but I am very glad that I did as, not only did I become aware of difficulties overseas, my knowledge grew without even realising it.
‘Drumbeats’ is such an intense, thought-provoking novel which puts the emotion of African lives, well under the spotlight. This is a story which was both enjoyable and devastating in equal measures, yet if you were to ask me whether the devastation ruined my enjoyment of the book, I would put my hand on my heart and say definitely not. Because it didn’t. I’m not sitting here saying that I revelled in other people’s heartache, not at all. But the way in which Julia Ibbotson crafted her story to ensure that her readers were both enlightened and entertained, spoke volumes.
I flew through this book and, if this is the strength of the first book in the trilogy, I cannot wait to read the other books and follow Jess’ life. Devastatingly beautiful – what more can I say?
About the author.
Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then a university lecturer and researcher. Finding Jess (2018) is her sixth book and the last of the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins and ends in Ghana). Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.
Acclaimed author of:
Drumbeats (2015), the first of the trilogy set in 1960s Ghana: sometimes you have to escape to find yourself.
Walking in the Rain (2016), the second in the trilogy set in 1970s and 1980s England: never give up on your dreams.
Finding Jess (2018), the last of the trilogy set in 1990s England and Ghana: can the past ever be left behind?
Also by Julia Ibbotson:
A Shape on the Air (2017): historical (Dark Ages/early medieval) time-slip romance. Two women 1,500 years apart, with one aim: to reclaim their dreams and fight the dangers that threaten them both across the ages …
The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, (first published 2011, rereleased 2017) a feel-good story of the renovation of a Victorian rectory interwoven with period recipes to feed the soul, all from the rectory kitchen.
S.C.A.R.S (first published 2012, rereleased 2016) (children’s novel): a troubled boy slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe into a parallel medieval fantasy world of knights, dragons, and a quest for the triumph of Good over Evil. But can he save himself?
Social Media Links
Facebook Author page
Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book
Goodreads author page
RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) website author page