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…I was not brought up in a Christian way and wasn’t much impressed by all I heard. If God was the head of the family, I thought he was a dull man indeed and, like my father, appeared to have a morose sense of justice ruling under the reign of chaos. It seemed unfair that we are all born in sin for how on earth were we to get out of it? And was there really much point? For according to the parson, and the one who had married me, life was but a flickering flame blown out by no more than a draught. If that was so, I was determined to enjoy all such a fragile existence had to offer….
Tully Truegood- a witch, a whore, a murderer! Awaiting trial in Newgate Prison, reciting recipes to the prison walls, not because they remind her of food, but because each recipe is a bookmark in the story of her life, she decides to narrate her tale. Wray Delaney is Sally Gardner’s nom de plume. An award-winning British author, she is well known for her children’s books, and An Almond for a Parrot is her debut novel in the adult fiction category.
The narrative is tight and flows effortlessly. Wray’s characters have their strong individuality and connect deftly with each other and the story line. With historical references and detailed descriptions, many of which are erotic, given the nature of Tully’s “profession”, the novel is fast-paced. At times the explicitness can be shocking (I did find myself marveling at how effortlessly, a children’s books author can venture into eroticism), but the intriguing plot and the impressive characterization make it an entertaining read.