This is an excellent book and a powerful – if not at all times enjoyable – read. There is a poetic feel to the language and a tangibility to the landscapes in which the novel is set. While not getting caught up in description, Womersley still manages to paint a vivid scene inside the reader’s head. The storyline is fairly simple, yet placed against the backdrop of the Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic, its tragedy is emphasised. A slight hint of magic realism adds to the book’s overall feel of otherworldliness.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Bereft through Goodreads FirstReads, and I think it’s the perfect example of why FirstReads is such a fantastic thing to be able to be a part of. Of my own accord, I possibly would never have picked this book up, because I don’t read a lot of modern non-genre fiction. But I really would have missed out, if that were the case, because Bereft is a wonderful book that was an absolute pleasure to read.

Warning: There is one scene involving an animal death that I found upsetting.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)