Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma
Author: Priya Sharma
Published Date: October 15th 2019
Length: 176 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adult, Novella, Historical
Acclaimed author Priya Sharma transports readers back in time with Ormeshadow, a coming-of-age story as dark and rich as good soil.
Burning with resentment and intrigue, this fantastical family drama invites readers to dig up the secrets of the Belman family, and wonder whether myths and legends are real enough to answer for a history of sin.
Uprooted from Bath by his father’s failures, Gideon Belman finds himself stranded on Ormeshadow farm, an ancient place of chalk and ash and shadow. The land crests the Orme, a buried, sleeping dragon that dreams resentment, jealousy, estrangement, death. Or so the folklore says. Growing up in a house that hates him, Gideon finds his only comforts in the land. Gideon will live or die by the Orme, as all his family has.
If I am being honest, I bought this on Kindle because of the cover and the fact that it sounded like a blend of historical fiction and fantasy. I got so much more out of this novella than that and I am so glad I spent my money one this on a mere chance. Filled with the darkness of the dysfunctional Belman family and given the fantastical note of Orme, the sleeping dragon. This one is gonna stay with me for a while.
Gideon and his parents move from Bath to Ormeshadow, a rural community settled into hard and seemingly unrewarding land. Gideon’s father has a brother in the village and he also owns half the sheep farm that the other brother has been handling ever since Gideon’s father left the family home.
As soon as they arrive at the home, we are already aware of the tensions running underneath the brothers and even the wives. Then there’s Gideon who still feels that they should have stayed in Bath, he feels very uprooted and lonely. His father tries his best to settle down in the house with his brother and his family. Old resentments continuously flare up and there’s never a wavelength that Gideon and his cousins are on.
In the midst of all this upheaval, his father tells Gideon about the sleeping dragon. Orme, the dragon which has been sleeping for centuries now and was protected and cared for by an ancestor of Belmans themselves. These stories of Orme and his times with his father are a blessing to Gideon who slowly learns to live in the rural community and with his not-so-ideal family.
However one day, all of the painfully and slowly built comfort falls away. His father dies under utterly tragic circumstances and frankly, suspicious as well. From then, it’s all going downhill and then we are on a ride that nobody could predict how it would end. For a book that is well under 200 pages, it has such solid characters and the plot paces well. I was so completely invested in the characters and specifically in Gideon till the very end.
As I said earlier, Sharma’s writing is absolutely gripping and magical. Her touch to fantasy is something that blended so well with the story that I am still not over it. It’s dark and achy and filled with such wonder for Orme. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s wanting a touch of wonder and terror and drama full of dysfunctional family. Just read it.