REVIEW: The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, read by Paula Wilcox

Over the past few months I have started listening to audio books to help when I can’t sleep. I had started to fall into the trap of staying up watching Netflix all night, or reading another chapter and then another. I really like Audible  because I can listen to different books and there’s a sleep timer so I can drop to sleep without missing anything and quite often the timer stops me from getting carried away and listening for too long. 

For a while I was listening to classics that I had read before, but recently I have started listening to audiobooks on the daily commute (solves the travel sickness I get when reading on the bus) or I listen when I have a half hour chill when I get home. Therefore I’ve downloaded a few new release novels, including The Trouble With Goats and Sheep. I have wanted to read this novel for a while, I’ve heard and read fantastic reviews and had friends tell me to read it. I was intrigued by the title and I am always looking for a good mystery.

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook. Paula Wilcox gives a fantastic performance, she takes on so many different voices but is never harsh, her characterisations are never jarring which I have found with some other audiobooks when the actor comes across a character of a different gender or age. I found Wilcox took on the voices of Grace and Tilly particularly well and I was pleased I had chosen to listen to the audiobook, rather than read the book. 

This is a mystery novel combined with a coming of age as Grace and Tilly learn that adults don’t always tell the truth and begin to seek new freedom. The novel begins when one of the lady’s on the street where Grace lives, disappears and Grace decides to investigate. Goats and Sheep is beautifully written, with a huge variety of characters and voices. Details are beautifully woven into the plot and despite the summer of 1976 being beyond my memory by quite a few years, I could feel the heat wave and understand the mindset of this very particular community at the time. 

A hugely original and enjoyable novel, I recommend this as a perfect addition to your spring summer reading list. It’s an intriguing read and I found the voice of young Grace particularly well written. At times her and Tilly’s adventures are even reminiscent of the discoveries of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, as they stumble upon very adult problens and secrets, allowing the reader (or listener) to jump ahead of them and adding a layer of irony.

 This is a book about childhood, secrets and neighbours. Well worth a read!

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