Snake Ropes – Jess Richards
Every lock has a key, and every key tells a story.
Snake Ropes is one of the most atmospheric books to be released in the last few years. Set on an island that is ‘off the map’, complete with its own rich dialect and mythology, it follows the story of two girls. Mary, a native to the island, who can touch any piece of metal and root out the secrets of those who’ve held it, has had her brother taken by ‘the tall men’ who come to trade the island folk for their fish and crafts, and occasionally take more than they should. Locked in a house on the other side of the island is Morgan, a girl who can see ghosts and desperately wants to escape the prison of work and family her mother is content to have her die in. Snake ropes follows these women as they seek to unlock the secrets surrounding them.
Jess Richards grew up watching boats sail from Scotland to Ireland, this is evident in the wonderful immediacy of the island and the feeling created in the reader. This was a stunning debut novel – well written and extremely satisfying in its completeness.