On opening Catherine Czerkawska's historical novel, The Physic Garden, I know immediately that I will have to plan ahead and read it chapter by chapter because it is so beautifully written, with each chapter encapsulating a thought, a question, a time. You want to stop and think, relish what you've just read – also, life has to revolve around work and shopping and cooking/consuming meals...there will be no housework done until I have finished this book.
Half-way through and I am still captivated by the interesting detail, the characters and the hook – I want to know; what happened? I'm a city girl and really interested in how the writer has stuffed every crack in the floors with knowledge...things I want to know but have been too lazy to find out for myself, so far. When I'm reading I'm immediately immersed in these characters' lives, and it's so annoying when real life interferes and I have to stop.
Oooh, there's a fabulously disgusting passage 85% of the way through, describing some of the poorest places in Glasgow:
'...I found myself peering into rooms that never saw the light of day, stinking bug-ridden rooms and passages...in a drab and deadly succession, all leprous with damp, I thought that I had found myself in some hellish labyrinth, an underground warren where only troglodytes might live.'
...and, several hours later, I have finished reading a wonderful tale. I don't need to tell you what it's about – you can read that on the book blurb. This is not a genre story; anyone, with particular likes and dislikes would love it. It is set in the historical past but is fiction, and such an imagination has conjured up a place and a time that will leave you spellbound.