Title: Victoria Park
Author: Gemma Reeves
Publisher: Allen and Unwin UK
Date of publication: January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Hug in a Book
Format read: ebook
Number of pages: 197
Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year. Told from their multiple perspectives in episodes which capture feelings of alienation and connection, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park sends ripples of unease through the community. By the end of the novel, their carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of resilience, love and loss.
With sharply observed insight into contemporary urban life, and characters we take to our hearts, Gemma Reeves has written a moving, uplifting debut which reflects those universal experiences that connect us all.
From the moment I first saw the cover of Victoria Park, I knew the book was for me. The lovely bright colors and the park brought me back to my own days walking around green London. I was missing my home, I was missing going out, I was missing seeing people and the sense of community of a neighborhood.
So, I picked Victoria Park. I met Mona, Wolfie, Luca, Alice, Rose, and I found new friends. I made new acquaintances. I felt comforted and had the feeling that simply by reading the words, I was also comforting the characters, watching over them through the chapters the author had created. Of course, I did not react to each story the same. Some moved me more than others. I grew closer to some people, but equally enjoyed my time with each the inhabitants of the Victoria Park neighborhood.
It was quiet – but not the good kind, more like the sort which let in noisy thoughts.
Each chapter is a month. Each month you meet someone new. Yet, each story is linked, with visible and invisible strings tying everyone together, creating a beautiful, complex, and colorful rainbow of faces and relationships. Doubts, illness, everyday struggles, new love, secrets – Victoria Park is the home of many things, and all you have to do is follow the rhythm of the author’s exquisite and simple prose to get all the feels.
Cooking helped him to shrink the borders between giving people what they needed and understanding what he needed himself.
I highlighted many quotes which resonated with me. I believe the book is wonderful in itself and the perfect gift for lovers of words and life stories. Its power was simply enhanced by the current global situation. I needed a reminder of what life is about, and Victoria Park made me realize all the things I’d taken for granted. It was a freedom call, I smelled the gorgeous wafts coming from the shop, I felt the breeze on my face, and I looked at the flowers and trees, while my heart was quenching its thirst for human connection thanks to all the protagonists.
Victoria Park is the perfect cup of tea on a rainy day. It is the hug you need when it gets dark. Everyone needs to spend time at Victoria Park.
I absolutely LOVED it. From the writing to the characters, everything is warm and screams of a life I miss. It was wonderful to get to know everyone, imagine the park through the months and seasons. I needed this feeling of link to the world and a freedom that seems so far away these days.
I highly recommend you treat yourself to a copy!