Review: MaTilda by Sarah Gonnet @HHouseBooks #BookReview

I’ve been one lucky blogger to have come across the wonderful independent publishers Holland House, that was founded in 2012 and have such a great range of books that I plan to read every one of! I want to say thanks to the team for sending me out a copy of Sarah Gonnet’s MaTilda that is a literary fiction that was published on the 5th of December 2019. You can purchase a paperback copy here, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can get it free as part of your membership!

Sarah is a multi-media writer and artist from the North-East of England. She makes work in a number of forms. She has previously published a book of poetry: Voices. She is currently developing a play about the history of women in film, with support from Arts Council England; and a piece of immersive artwork about Louise Bourgeois, with support from New Writing North. She is the author of many plays that look at both mental illness and feminism, including Word Salad which was performed as part of Alphabetti Theatre’s award winning The Rooms. She is currently Associate Artist with Greyscale Theatre Company. Her work in film includes Womb – a piece about compulsive hoarding which was showcased by Channel 4. She is publishing a children’s book with Scholastic in 2020 and currently working on a novel about Georgina Houghton, and a non-fiction book about women film directors.

Matilda was always happy to live

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vicariously through her collection of classic films- but that was before Thomas brought his manic energy into her life. Can she find her way back to herself? Tilda is a young woman who did a terrible thing. How much self-punishment can one woman handle? Does she deserve to move on? Mother is the connection between the two women. They are both her daughter. Her only daughter. A strange, poetic story of what it is to be a young woman fractured by life.

If you’re a fan of classical type reads written in a contemporary way, this is a novella that should absolutely be stuck on your to buy list. MaTilda is a story that possesses a human complexity that has impacted the life of our protagonist Matilda, which has created a multi-fractured story after an event that has effected the Matilda both emotionally and psychologically. The novella is split amongst three narratives, past and present Matilda, as well as an unknown point of view labelled ‘Mother’. The reader is drawn in to the psychological aftermath of said event that focuses on Matilda’s breakdown and self punishment as she blames herself for her past actions.

The theme that echoes throughout the storyline is Matilda’s mental wellbeing, spiralling into a dark pit of depression, isolation and medically disorders – she’s stuck in an unforgiving loop that accumulates causing further issues. The dialogue is written from first person, which allows the reader to experience all Matilda’s person thoughts and feelings, building our protagonist up from a two dimensional character to one that many of us can’t help identify with – we all have negative feelings that bubble to the surface at times, instead of talking about them with those around us, whether friends, family or professionals, we swallow it down until it consumes us. MaTilda is a human story about grief of the person she once was, the loss of her freedom, how her identity and experiences have changed her, as they change us all. MaTilda has a depth of despair and desperation, one that absorbs you and a novel that will make you think about how you deal with certain aspects of life.


Really enjoyed MaTilda, thanks again Holland House! If you enjoy works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Girl, Interrupted, I would highly recommend this one for you! If you’ve already read it, what did you think? Share your thoughts below.

Until next time,
Happy reading!

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