Lydia’s Song – a book review

I was in tears by the time I’d finished this novel. Katherine Blessan has written a deeply moving story of a young girl’s experiences of being sold into sex slavery in Cambodia.

Lydia’s Song is not a book I’d have normally chosen to read. Neither thriller, nor crime fiction, nor mystery, yet containing elements of each of these that eventually hooked me in to the point where I finished the last half of the book in one sitting, desperate to know how it ended.

The novel starts from Lydia’s point of view, looking back on her time working for a Non Governmental Organisation in Cambodia. I found the beginning slow going initially as it could almost have been a romance as Lydia (the Westerner) develops a relationship with Radha (the Cambodian). I don’t read romance generally, so struggled with the start. Yet even in this, it was fascinating reading about the daily life in Cambodia and I enjoyed that insight. I worked abroad for a time myself, also for an NGO and could relate to some of the struggles and incidents.

Lydia finds a young Cambodian girl in her garden one night – the Song of the title. Song has effectively been orphaned and the story gently shows the developing relationships between Lydia, Song and Radha. Until it all goes wrong…

This for me is where the story really started to come alive as Katherine Blessan manages to create a sense of realism in her descriptions of a child being made into a sex slave, without titillation or eroticising the experience. Harrowing is one word I want to use, yet, because of the way the story is structured, there is a sense of hope throughout.

If you enjoy stories that give you insight into another culture, that contain real characters and deliver an emotional kick, then I recommend Lydia’s Song. If you would like to try it out, a sample is available below.

Available from all good bookshops and also from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.

About the Author

Katherine tweets @kathblessan
Check out her website at: http://www.katherineblessan.com/

As well as writing, Katherine works as an English and Creative Writing tutor and an Examiner, together with juggling parenting and volunteering in the community. She is married to Blessan – yes, her surname is his first name! – and they travel widely and love to meet new people. Katherine lives with her family in Sheffield, UK.

Other stories by Katherine Blessan include:
• ‘A Heart on Fire’ – a love story inspired by Chariots of Fire. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Fire-Katherine-Blessan-ebook/dp/B06XD2D2FV
• ‘Travels by Wheelchair’ was shortlisted in a Patrician Press competition in 2016 and published in an anthology. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Refugees-Peacekeepers-Patrician-Press-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01MUG2YIV/
• ‘Beyond her Scream’ – a story of a mother-daughter relationship strained by the effects of FGM. Short Story Beyond Her Scream from cutalongstory.com

Out of my comfort zone

Book reviews… I became obsessed with getting as many as I could back at the beginning of the year, hoping I could maybe reach 1,000 for Fallen Warriors. At the same time I’ve realised that I should make an effort to review the books I’m reading and take more of an active part in the community that blogs about books generally.

This summer I’ve arranged to be part of a Meet The Author event at Cumbernauld Library on 16th September 2017, from 2-4 pm. With me will be Wendy H. Jones, winner of Books Go Social Book of the Year 2017 and author of the DI Shona McKenzie crime series and The Daggers Curse, a young adult novel; and Caroline Johnston, author of What If? a young adult novel.

We’ll be interviewing each other as part of the event and so I am reading both Wendy and Caroline’s latest novels in preparation for the event. I’m planning to review both books this summer.

Also, I’ve just finished reading Lydia’s Song, a novel by Katherine Blessan and will be posting my review of this tomorrow.

I have to say, these are not novels I would normally have chosen to read and I’m finding myself out of my comfort zone with genres I’m not familiar with, yet the stories are hooking me in and delivering an emotional punch that is the hall mark of a good story for me.

Tune in tomorrow for my review of Lydia’s Song…