’Like a surreal cabinet of curiosities – haunting, eerie, evocative’ Bridget Collins, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Binding
When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history.
Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne’s research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape.
Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets.
As Tartelin pieces together Marianne’s connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past?
Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.
***Early reader reviews***
‘I absolutely loved The Unravelling, and there is something really special about Crosby's beautiful and immersive storytelling’
‘A beautiful haunting and uniquely captivating book’
‘If you enjoyed The Lost Apothecary or The Mermaid of Black Conch, then this is definitely for you'
'A gorgeously written story, atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful. Captivating and totally immersive. It is one for those that like delving into mysteries of the past, to discover more about a family and to discover the secrets'
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 32 members
To be shared on social media shortly: Thank you to HQ for approving me to read an arc of ᴛʜᴇ 𝐔𝐍𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆 by Polly Crosby on Netgalley. I've seen some physical proofs for this novel on social media and they are STUNNING, and the image here is the final cover art 💙🦋 - 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐢𝐬 𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐭 𝐛𝐥𝐮𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐈 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐈 𝐚𝐦. - I absolutely loved The Unravelling, and there is something really special about Crosby's beautiful and immersive storytelling. She is able to craft stunning landscapes and imagery that are so vibrant, and you almost feel as though you could reach out and touch them. - 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞, 𝐮𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐰 𝐢𝐧 𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐰 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧. - The main protagonist, Tartelin, is hired by Marianne Stourbridge to catch butterflies on her island of Dohhalund. It certainly seems like a timely appointment for Tartelin, who has recently lost her mother, and is struggling with her own grief. - 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐬 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐠, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐢𝐫. 𝐁𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐭, 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥. 𝐈 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐟 𝐢𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐬, 𝐢𝐟 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞-𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐟𝐥𝐚𝐯𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐮𝐭. 𝐀 𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐦𝐞, 𝐚 𝐰𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞. - Marianne is an interesting character. Her story and the traumas of her past are slowly revealed to Tartelin, and the reader, as Tartelin processes her own grief during her time on the Island. Marianne's timeline moves back and forth, between her past as a young girl and grown woman, to her present as a slightly cantankerous old woman, who is searching for something that Tartelin has to coax out of her. I won't give any spoilers here, but I do have to say that there were moments from Marianne's youth where she irritated me with her pomposity. Referring to other people as 'the help' and being obsessed with pearls and frivolities, I did want to give her a good shake! What unfolds in her life though is more than anyone should have to deal with. - 𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐬 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬 ... 𝐈’𝐦 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐬, 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞, 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐧𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐚𝐢𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐭. 𝐌𝐲 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 . 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧. - The island itself felt like a character within the book. It's rich and beautiful landscapes, the animals that thrive within it's boundaries, and the hold it has over several of the characters, all give it a personality of it's own. Mirroring Marianne, it has unobtainable secrets, and the intertwined truths between her and the island are eventually uncovered. It's interesting that Crosby wrote this story during the covid-19 pandemic, as the story is mostly confined to the island of Dohhalund and Marianne's home (Dogger Bank House). It does feel like a very insular story in some ways, confined as it is to the narrow scope of the island, but surrounded on all sides by the great vastness of the sea. - 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐚 𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐮𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐍𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐈 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐈 𝐝𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐰. 𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐚𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐨 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦, 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐮𝐬. - Dogger Bank House, also has a unique personality throughout the story. With such unique and intriguing features, like a copper bath with various taps - some that bring in fresh water, and one that brings in seawater - it is the bridge that transcends time and enables the story to weave together. As truths are revealed and secrets are uncovered, the facade crumbles away, and life is errovocably changed for everyone involved. - 𝐀𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐃𝐨𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐤, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦, 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐠𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐝𝐨𝐠 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐭𝐲𝐥𝐞, 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐝-𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐚𝐣𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐧𝐞, 𝐚 𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞-𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐰 𝐬𝐚𝐭, 𝐬𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐠𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲-𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫, 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐥, 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡. - Exploring themes of family, change, time and grief, The Unravelling is an emotional story, beautifully told and imagined by Crosby. The setting and whimsical beauty of the story has an almost dream-like, fairytale quality to it, with peacocks, pearls and butterflies woven throughout, and the gap between humans, animals, and the sea appearing closer than ever before. - 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐚, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐞. 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐬. 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐲𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐬, 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧, 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 –𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦, 𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐬𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐢𝐝𝐞, 𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭 –𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐚 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐬, 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫. - More than anything, the message of the story seemed to me to be that no matter what tribulations we've faced, or what ordeals we have lived through, we metamorphize into something greater because of it. From the ugly events and traumas that noone can escape in life, beautiful things can emerge, like a butterfly from it's chrysalis. Mutation, change and evolution is not always a bad thing. - 𝐌𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐚 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐮𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐚 𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝, 𝐟𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐝. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐏𝐚𝐩𝐚 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬; 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 , 𝐠𝐧𝐚𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐛𝐲 𝐰𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐭 𝐮𝐩 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐲 𝐧𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞. 𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐞, 𝐮𝐠𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐬, 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭. - I'd highly recommend The Unravelling to all readers, especially to readers who enjoy fiction with literary elements, and I'd also highly recommend Crosby's first novel, The Illustrated Child (also known as The Book of Hidden Wonders). Polly Crosby continues to be one of my favourite modern authors, and I can't wait to devour whatever she writes next!
What a brilliant book. Original, easy read. Couldn’t put it down. ( however I was on my holiebobs so him in doors wasn't too impressed that I chose to stay in the caravan and read rather than walk around Looe Bay 😱. Will review on Facebook tv club page, Instagram and Amazon.. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book 🙂 An author on my hit list! Will no doubt be following for a long time #authorstalker.