#WritersReviews: Jiddy Vardy

Jiddy Vardy

written by Ruth Estevez

cover design by Isla Bousfield-Donohoe

published by ZunTold

434 pages in paperback

sweeping YA saga: Poldark on the North Sea

Summary from Zuntold website

Jiddy is a survivor.

Rescued at birth, Jiddy grows up in Robin Hood’s Bay, a community which harbours a dangerous secret, one that could get you killed.

Always the outsider, with her dark skin and hair, at sixteen Jiddy is clever, brave and headstrong, soon risking her life and freedom to play her part in the Bay’s clandestine activities.

Then, just as romance blossoms and Jiddy finally feels like she belongs, figures from the past threaten to tear her world apart, and she has to decide where her loyalties truly lie.

One girl’s search for identity and love, set against a backdrop of wild seas, smuggling and violence.

A Reader’s perspective

Jiddy Vardy by Ruth Estevez is an immersive novel following the growth of its bold heroine from birth to her own sense of adulthood. Written in a traditional style to suit its 18th century setting, it nonetheless portrays issues modern folk will recognise. Alongside Jiddy, you will encounter bullying, racism, greed and violence – together with torn loyalties, courage, hope and love.

The smoky blue cover by Isla Bousfield-Donohoe features Jiddy as a young woman, with the sea as an all-pervading¬† influence. There’s darkness there and implied adventure – which utterly right for this tale full of smuggling, deceit and ambition. There is also a map inside – so helpful for exploring the tightly-bound community essential to the story.

Teen* or older readers who love the Poldark books, or any other historical novels set in a specific place crammed with family conflicts, politics and drama, might well consider Jiddy Vardy. If they enjoy a more feminist approach which also looks at class conflict – but involves humour and romance too – then so much the better. Perfect for anyone who loves Bay Town (Robin Hood’s Bay) and its history.

*not suitable for primary school children.

Photo by Andrei Ianovskii on Unsplash

A Writer and Editor’s view

Things Writer Me wants to steal emulate:

  • introductory map
  • class as source of motivation
  • deep sense of a much-loved setting
  • a light touch of dialect – and humour

Things Editor Me notices :

  • Jiddy’s need for identity as someone with dual heritage permeates the book
  • time taken to fully establish the central character
  • definite sense of Northernness – bravo ZunTold of Manchester for running with this
  • classic feel which can cross boundaries from YA to adult for the intended readership

I think this picture of Ruth Estevez in Robin Hood’s Bay gives you a good feel for the place – and the writer.

Picture courtesy of the author.

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