Review of ‘A Surprising Legacy’, by Ernest Swain

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

A SURPRISING LEGACY

It has been a while since we reviewed a work of fiction and this is the first publication from retired police detective Ernest Swain, who spent much of his long career based in Buxton. These two factors are perfect proof of the sage advice offered to new authors - write about what you know.

A Surprising Legacy is set in the Upper Dane Valley and Staffordshire Moorlands of some two centuries ago, a place of illegal bare knuckle fights, resident counterfeiters and forgers, and a well-founded fear of rough justice. The main characters in these hard times are a travelling man and a homeless young mother, whose search for love and a degree of security introduces the reader to men worked to their limit, button-makers barely scratching a living, and ever-hungry children.

The author is strong on historical accuracy and local legends, whilst his writing surely draws on experiences that have bred an empathy towards his disadvantaged fictional characters, and a sort of weary understanding towards those of a shadier cut. Though not aimed at any specific age group, this is a lively story to be enjoyed by most readers, including the older child.

A Surprising Legacy is written and published by Ernest Swain. Priced £8.50 and available from local bookshops including outlets in Buxton, Bakewell and Leek.

Review by Julie Bunting


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