Book Review: ‘Darling’, by Rachel Edwards

 

I

read ‘Darling’ by Rachel Edwards over the weekend and enjoyed it more than I had expected to.

It’s the story of a black woman falling in love with and marrying a white English man. The story is set in the wake of the EU referendum in the UK and a rising tide of racism and xenophobia. Darling, the protagonist and step-mum, struggles with the second protagonist, Lola, her step-daughter, who hates Darling for various reasons, one of them being that Darling is black.

I’d describe the book as a mild thriller that will keep your eyes glued to the pages and that successfully transports you into the live of Darling, her step-daughter, and her husband. It’s an easy read with a gripping plot, and a strong underlying message about race and racism in England, the suppressed way in which it is handled, and its rise among the general public, which seems to have been emboldened by Brexit and its fear-mongering pseudo-politicians.

Incidentally, while I was reading this book over the weekend, I experienced a shocking, racially motivated incident at the market where I was doing my weekly shopping. A group of women, of Nigerian heritage, were loudly insulted for standing up against impolite and uncalled-for treatment by the market-stall owners. Their racially motivated insults (the n-word, was among them – so yes, it WAS racially motivated, for the skeptics who like to deny that ‘it was about race’) were accompanied by ‘go home’, ‘this is England’, ‘if you don’t like it, then you can fuck right off’, and the such. Since I was already quite immersed in the book and had only taken a break to do some shopping, the incident felt even more intense and unsettling, and, at the same time, made the book feel so relevant and ‘in the moment’.

If you’re looking for an easy and absorbing read with a strong message, then you will certainly enjoy this book.

 

*This book was sent to me by 4th Estate free of charge.