- About the Author
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I have to admit to being a bit late discovering Kate Atkinson. I remember friends raving about “Life after Life” and “A God in Ruins” years ago but when I read the blurb and the reviews they never seemed to appeal to me.
Finally, however, I read “A God in Ruins” and was absolutely taken by the style of writing: so brave, so clever, so different. I went on to read “life after Life” (yes, I know that was the wrong way round but it didn’t seem to matter) and was equally enthralled. I’ve never really read detective novels so I haven’t even looked at her Jackson Brodie series but I pre-ordered her latest novel “Transcription.” I found this interesting and again enjoyed her style and humour but I felt it wasn’t up to the standard of the other two.
So, looking on Amazon, I discovered she had written other novels and ordered “Behind the Scenes at the Museum.” I’m so glad I did. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. The characterisation, the unusual style, the heartache and the humour, it has everything and all so beautifully crafted. Ok, so there are huge plot holes which I won’t elaborate on so as not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but at the time you don’t notice them. It’s only afterwards you notice them when you stop and think about it afterwards. And, trust me, you will think about it afterwards: it’s one of those books you don’t want to finish and the characters stay with you long afterwards.
It’s the sort of book you have to work at: not only does it dart backwards and forwards in time but there are a bewildering amount of friends and relatives so you have to keep checking back to remember who is who. Quite apt from the holes in the plot and the unbelievable coincidences there are also some episodes rushed over and others that take far to long but these are minor issues.
It’s a book I would read again, the sort you press on other people to read. A wonderful, wonderful book. If you haven’t read it yet, do so. Stay with it, don’t be put off too soon. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Bethany Askew is the author of seven novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed, Three Extraordinary Years and The Two Saras.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Two more women’s fiction books have been accepted for publication in 2020 and 2021 respectively and she is currently working on a new novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.