After reading Redemption Road I have been eager to share my review with you all
and I am really delighted be part of the blog tour for this compelling and thought provoking read.
Lisa Ballantyne now joins us and has taken the time to answer some burning questions.
When I first began to work on REDEMPTION ROAD, I was interested in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the mechanism of memories from the past impacting on the present. The first scene of the book – involving the car crash and the strange, scarred saviour – came to me quite quickly and I knew that the burned man who rescues Margaret would be the key to her past. In writing the 1980s scenes, I knew I wanted to write about a man who steals his daughter and for the journey they undertake to be a redemptive one, spanning the whole country. I wanted the relationship between father and daughter to gradually soften as the road trip progresses, from one of captor and captive, to one of genuine mutual affection and love.
I loved the character of George and despised the character of Angus, but I felt like I should feel the opposite way around with these characters because of their actions, which really made me question myself. Was this something you were hoping to achieve when you first set about writing these characters?
I am eternally interested in the subjects of nature and nurture, good and evil, parents and children, the past and how it impacts on the present. I wanted moral ambiguity to be at the heart of my new novel. George is a gangster, a murderer, a kidnapper, and a thief and yet we love and support him. Angus is an upstanding member of the community, with a good career, a family and a staunch belief system, but we learn that he is truly evil. We recoil from Angus and his arrogant certainty and gravitate towards George and his dreams. For me, REDEMPTION ROAD is not high realism like my first novel, THE GUILTY ONE; there is something of a fairy tale or a fable about REDEMPTION ROAD. Villains and heroes are turned on their heads, but I am so glad that you loved Big George. He is the soul of the novel. Despite his background, he is a classic example of the tragic questing hero, struggling to escape his past and – ultimately – himself. We want him to win, and his failures are heart-breaking.
Where is your favourite place to write and do you have a particular writing schedule?
If I am at home, the ONLY place that I write is at my kitchen table, looking out of two big windows onto trees, hills and a railway track. If I am trying to finish, or break the back of a novel, I go to a little caravan by the sea. Watching the ocean move, and being somewhere I can smell nature (and have no phone signal) is the ultimate inspiration. I am pretty busy, but I try to write every day - that is my schedule. I try not to worry about how much I write or its quality, so long as I have done something. But I love getting away to write, with absolutely no one around and only me and the book in my world.
Do you get time to read alongside writing your book and, if so, do you find you need to read something from a different genre?
I read a lot, but at any one time I am reading about ten books and this can be a fatiguing situation. I usually have about four or five books (sometimes more) that I am reading for research, then I usually have a novel I am reading for my own pleasure, and usually something non-fiction as well, just for me. Then there are books that I am sent to review and I often stop and focus on them so that they are not lost in the pile. At the moment, for sheer pleasure, I am reading Marilynne Robinson’s GILEAD and Barack Obama’s DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.
Can you tell us anything about the book you are currently working on?
No, sorry. I don’t like to talk about works in progress, but I am writing a new novel! I’m so grateful to you and all your readers for your interest and am thankful for your support!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Lisa, I have to say I really admire you being able to read that many books at one time, I need you to teach me!
One of the best things about being a book blogger is that every so often I am sent a book to review which wouldn't be a book I would typically pick up in the local bookshop. When I was sent Redemption Road it didn't shout out to me not because it has an awful cover or anything it just didn't appeal to me and yet when I opened the book just to have a little read of the first chapter before I knew it I was over half way through this book before I looked up!
Margaret Holloway finds herself trapped in her car after she has a fatal crash, unable to get out and with the smell of petrol getting stronger she fears for her life until a man who has horrendous scaring over his face and body comes to her aid and smashes her window and drags her out minutes before the car explodes. As Margaret turns to thank him the strange man mysterious man who had saved her is walking away.
The crash has opened up questions for Margaret and she is determined to find the answers.
This was such a flawless read that had me captivated the whole way through. The pace of the book doesn't falter the whole way through and there is a constant tense feel to the book which left no safe place to put the book down.
Each of the characters were extremely well developed from Margaret who we instantly fear for at the start of the book to little Moll who was such a brave and intelligent little girl, to George who was such a complex character, he had such a big heart and yet there is a stigma attached to him which makes him fearful to others. George was by far my favourite character in this book and I was confused about my feelings for him during the book because I felt as though I should despise this man and yet I couldn't help but feel for him as I know his actions were not malicious.
The character of Angus really freaked me out, I found him to be quite a disturbing character.
The book is told in two time frames 1985 and 2013, I preferred reading about the events in 1985 but it was the events told in 2013 which wound the story together. I had an idea of what the connection was going to be and I was correct but this really didn't ruin the book for me as there were still little things revealed as we went along. I loved watching the relationship between Moll and George progress and I was really hoping for a happy ending for them both.
The ending of this book tied everything up perfectly and I have to confess to the lump that appeared in my throat, which is a great sign of a great read and having to leave great characters behind.
I highly recommend this book and this will be one that I am sure when I come to do my top 10 reads at the end of the year will still be on my mind as a strong contender. I found myself totally compelled by this storyline I now can't wait to go and grab a copy of her previous book The Guilty One.
Thank you to Jo Wickham at Little Brown for sending this little gem my way to read and review.