It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Goldhanger Dog by Wanda Whiteley.
About the Author
Wanda Whiteley is co-author of the memoir, Streetkid, which spent three months in the top 10 of the Sunday Times non-fiction bestsellers list. The Goldhanger Dog is her debut novel.
In addition to her role as founder and Editor-in-Chief of Manuscript Doctor, she is an independent consultant for Writers and Artists, and previously worked as a Publishing Director at HarperCollins for over a decade. This year, she will be running her first life-writing workshop at the Atelier de Scriitori retreat in Transylvania. Follow @wanda_whiteley on Twitter
About the book
In 1553, Tudor England is on the precipice of change, with young King Edward in ill health and the religious fate of the country hanging in the balance. But far from power, in the wilds of the Essex Marches, fifteen-year-old Dela meets Turnspit, a scruffy and morose dog sentenced to a life of drudgery turning a kitchen spit.
After Dela frees Turnspit, the pair of misfits flee from persecution, seeking sanctuary with Princess Mary Tudor. Little do the two friends realise that the princess is facing the greatest trial of her life, and they soon find themselves in grave danger, with only friendship to protect them.
The incredible story of a turnspit dog, a mainstay of Tudor kitchens which has since gone extinct, The Goldhanger Dog is a magical story which explores the power of friendship and family in the face of adversity and misfortune.
When young Dela loses her mother she starts to comprehend there might be something more within her, something powerful that she as yet is unable to control or see the where and why for. It’s an unusual power that helps her makes connections those around can’t, and to right the wrongs of steadfast and barbaric rituals.
Being different means attracting the attention of people, and the presumption is of ill will, as opposed to lending a helping hand. Accusations of witchcraft send her running, along with a newly found friend, straight into the arms of the next heir to the very sought after throne of England.
This is a book that can be enjoyed by older and younger readers alike. The author always stays within certain boundaries, and yet equally doesn’t hide from the more difficult aspects of the era, whether they be political or societal. It’s under the historical fiction heading, however I think it deserves a sub-genre of its own – how about historical magical realism. History, magical powers, friendship and above all seeing the humanity in all living beings.
In that sense the book also contains an important message about the way we treat others and animals of course. The way we look the other way when others suffer, especially when they are considered second class living beings, such as a food source or pet. The turnspit dog was bred for the sole purpose of being a kitchen worker, an animal bound to a wheel and tortured for the appetite and sustenance of mankind.
Leaving the more serious ponderings aside, this is a lovely read. Also, I cannot tell I lie, I especially enjoyed the last chapter, an ending that was earnt for sure.