1648. Alie Gowdie marries Richard Webster during a turbulent time in Scotland’s history. Charles I is about to lose his head, and little does Alie know that she too will meet a grisly end within the year.
2019. Sarah Sutherland is struggling to cope with the demands of her day job, caring for her elderly father and keeping tabs on her backpacking daughter. She wanted to be an archaeologist, but now in her forties, she is divorced, alone, and there seems to be no respite, no glimmer of excitement on the horizon. However, she does have a special affinity with the Kilgour Witch, Alie Gowdie, who lived in Sarah’s cottage until her execution in 1648, and Sarah likes nothing better than to retreat into a world of sorcery, spells and religious fanaticism. Her stories delight tourists as she leads them along the cobbled streets of her home town, but what really lies behind the tale of Alie Gowdie, the Kilgour Witch? Can Sarah uncover the truth in order to right a centuries-old wrong? And what else might modern-day Kilgour be hiding, just out of sight?
Blog tour day! I want to say thanks to Kelly for the invite and spot on the tour, as well as Birlinn Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of Sight Unseen Sandra Ireland’s newest novel and first in the Sarah Sutherland thriller series that was published on the 6th of August 2020. You can grab your own glorious copy here!
About the Author
Sandra Ireland was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. Her work has appeared in various publications and women’s magazines. She is the author of Beneath the Skin (2016), Bone Deep (2018) and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook (2019). She lives in Carnoustie, Scotland.
My golly, Sight Unseen was a read in one sitting kind of book, one that included various elements and concepts that drew me in further to the life of Sarah. Being a one woman whirlwind, Sarah works two jobs while also keeping tabs on her father John who has become a needy version of himself and who believes that he is seeing things that could or couldn’t be there – from ink spills to fires, Sarah is on edge with worry while also trying to balance her own life and passion. Sarah lives in a home that has roots to the historic witch trials that echoes through the 17th century, with snippets of the life of Alie Gowdie – a ‘witch’ who was forced to dance and appease someone regarded as the Devil. The entwining together of an historical and contemporary backdrop of witch trials and modern day slavery, cleverly tangled together with a mystery that’s written so well that the whole novel fits and keeps the readers attention. The flicks of the past, as well as the alternating storyline has been sewn together to create this plotline that makes us question at parts, how far have we actually come from 1948?
Sandra Ireland has this extraordinary way of creating a beautifully written story that posses these meaningful themes – a psychological thriller writer that not only focuses on how the storyline flows, but also in developing the characterisation, as well as the connecting relationships between them. Sight Unseen is a promising first instalment of the Sarah Sutherland thriller series, with the promise of a more instalments?! That makes me a very happy reader! If you’re in the market for a mystery-esque, thrilling read, look no further (I also highly recommend reading her other stand alones).
Don’t take my word for it, checkout the other great posts from cracking bloggers on this tour, by searching #SightUnseen on both Twitter and Instagram.
Until next time,