The Anchoress by Paul Blaney

It took me a couple of pages to get into The Anchoress by Paul Blaney, but as soon as I found my bearings, oddly just as the main character, Maggie, did, I was hooked. I wanted to read until I’d read it all.

This is the story of a woman who crawls into her walk-in wardrobe one day, turns off all the lights, and doesn’t stray beyond her bathroom until she has figured out why she crawled in there in the first place. The novel begins with a dream of the past and ends with dreams of the future, a future unclouded by delusions Maggie created for herself when her mother died.

Not only is The Anchoress touching and believable it is also full of beautiful gems about the reason for reading in the first place. ‘Storytellers, writers,’ Maggie says, ‘they all use bits of their lives, stitch them together. You don’t ask which parts are true and which are made up. Stories aim at a higher truth, whatever serves the story best, whatever works.’ As she struggles to figure out her own story, so are we encouraged to question the truths we allow to dominate our own lives.

This is a beautiful little book. What a shame that Independent publishers, who are the ones usually brave enough to publish work like this, have such an upward struggle when it comes to getting their books out there. We need to help them and get books on bestseller lists through word of mouth alone. The Anchoress is only available as an e-book, so if you don’t have an e-reader of some kind, get one and read The Anchoress. You won’t regret it.