In The Earth Hums in B Flat, thirteen year old Gwenni Morgan believes she can fly, an idea her mother wants to keep from the neighbours. They don't seem to mind her eccentric ways though. Elin Evans and her two little girls are especially fond of Gwenni and she them, although she doesn't like Ifan, Elin's husband. When Ifan goes missing under mysterious circumstances, she decides to play detective and find out where he is and bring him back.
Gwenni naively goes about asking questions that no one wants to answer directly. There are just some things everyone knows but aren't discussed with the children. She inadvertently reopens long held secrets of madness, murder and old romances. Some of which hit too close to home and put her in harms way.
It's difficult to discuss this book without giving too much away and I think that it's important that the reader discovers things as the book progresses. It will become clear to you as you read, although poor Gwenni has a tough time figuring things out.
Gwenni. Poor sweet girl. She is too soft hearted, just like her Dad (Tada) who should be canonized for what he put up with. I was completely frustrated at times that he wasn't firmer and stand up more for Gwenni. Just once I wanted Gwenni herself to yell and scream at how unfairly she was treated by her mother and her awful sister Bethan, though Bethan was heavily influenced by her mother.
There is tons of heartache in The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan. As Gwenni's Nain says, "It's life, Gwenni. Just kicks you in the teeth sometimes. You may as well get used to it." While the ending might not be all rainbows and kittens, it is quite realistic but not without hope. It gave me a lot to ponder: how problems snowball and one begets another and another affecting not just one person but many.
Although set in 1950's Wales, Strachan paints a perfect picture of small town living. Everyone knows your business and there is no such thing a secret. Gwenni's outward oddness sets her apart from everyone else but what goes on behind closed doors is what is really strange.
Thanks to Penguin for the book- I won it on Twitter.