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    A Dreamlike Mystery!

    All That's Bright and Gone is a unique and charming début by Eliza Nellums, and from the first few words it held my attention. Told through the eyes of a six year old little girl named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fah), it was soul-stirring to be able to see matters through the perspective of a young girl. Aoife's brother Theo is dead, her mum, Siobhan, often becomes confused, and her best friend is an imaginary bear, called Teddy, that can grow to any size and also gets little Aoife into trouble on a regular basis. Aoife has another friend, Hannah, who lives next door and is two years older than herself. One day, Aoife's mum gets taken away, and Aoife is left in the care of her Uncle Donovan (Donny). Aoife knows that she needs to figure out who killed her brother so that her mum can come back home. She enlists the help of Hannah and together, they make a list of suspects and witnesses and write down clues. Hannah’s father is a detective, and Hannah has aspirations of being one herself, already believing in her own sleuthing skills. However, things are not straightforward, and there are a few twists, jostles and turns along the way. I was utterly charmed by this story, and the characterisation skills of Eliza Nellums were second to none. She did an amazing job relaying a child’s voice and thought processes. Reading All That's Bright and Gone from a six-year-old’s perspective added honesty, innocence and confusion about everything that goes on in the world. Little Aoife really left a mark on me and I delighted in her expressions and mannerisms, many of which made me smile, and I found that I wanted to protect her. Uncle Donovan made the perfect stand-in parent and did all he could to help her understand what was happening. This was a tender, special and beautifully written début that touched compassionately on topics such as faith in others, mental illness, religious faith, the importance of family, and the bond between mothers and daughters. A perfect, mesmerising, coming-of-age story full of poignancy, Eliza Nellums is one to watch. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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