Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Nightingale Point today I am BEYOND thrilled to be hosting some original content by the author herself!  SO EXCITED!!!  So without further ado, lets find out what happens in the book that EVERYONE is talking about!

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Synopsis

On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.
Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.
Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.
Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.
Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.

It’s a day like any other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

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Luan Goldie’s inspiration for the novel

Nightingale Point is my debut novel and comes out with HQ, HarperCollins this summer. It’s commercial book club fiction, and while the setting of an east London council estate in the nineties may not be that familiar to many, the themes in the book are universal.

Nightingale Point starts on a normal Saturday morning and follows a large group of characters as they go about their everyday lives. So you see them doing really quite normal stuff, like shopping for peanut butter, frying too many spring rolls, arguing with their siblings over smoking weed indoors and so on. Then something happens, something completely out of their control, which first threatens and then changes their lives forever.

The book follows the characters as they face the incident head on and the reader gets to watch them as they escape (or not).

The book was inspired by the 1992 Bijlmer air disaster, in which a cargo plane flying over Holland crashed into a block of flats just outside of Amsterdam. It was an awful, tragic accident in which up to forty-seven people lost their lives. But even all these years, there still remains debate about the official death toll from the accident. Some argue that the flats were home to illegal immigrants and not everyone was officially documented as tenants. The aftermath disaster also sparked controversy, the victims didn’t feel like they had been treated well and rehousing was slow.

I was so interested in how the people of the Bijlmer carried on with their lives after going through such a tragedy. I thought it was completely inspiring to read about how they helped each other in the days, months and years which followed the crash. Surviving the accident was only the first challenge for the residents, for they were now also homeless and without a single possession to their name. Still, when I watched videos of these people they were energised and focused, ready to talk to the media about their treatment and to challenge the authorities who were slow to rehouse them, all this while looking after each other’s children and mourning loved ones. It was completely inspiring.

I love stories about people overcoming difficult situations, we all do, it’s a testament to the human spirit. So once I started looking into the Bijlmer I couldn’t get it out of my head. Then these characters came to me, they just started talking and I could see their whole lives in each of their flats in the tower block. There was Mary, a nurse from the Philippines, who I could see cooking for the husband she couldn’t stand. Then I had Tristan, who is your stereotypical estate teenager, loud, anti-social and rapping along to Tupac in the stairwells. Tristan was a really important character for me because I wanted him to fit a lot of those negative stereotypes about young black males, but also be completely lovable. His brother Malachi was the most challenging character to write, mainly because he goes through so much and says so little. Then there was the hero of the story, and I knew from the start that it would be Elvis, a big, friendly giant. At first he seems needy but you quickly get to see him as brave and strong. Finally, there’s Pamela, the heartbroken teenager with the strict dad. Each of the characters came to me so clearly and I loved them all instantly, but I knew they had to go through this awful thing.

Everyone who has read the book so far has a firm favourite and I love hearing who they like and why. When people talk about the book they talk the characters before they talk about the tragedy and that’s exactly what I wanted. Because it’s not really about the event, it’s about the people.

Wow, thank you so much, Luan for writing such an interesting and informative piece for my blog! Thank you also to Lucy Richardson and HQ Stories for the invitation to the tour and for my proof copy of this gritty and compelling novel.

Nightingale Point has been chosen for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and is out now in both hardcover and ebook format and you can buy it here

If you enjoyed my post, please do go check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Published by Mrs Cooke

👩🏽‍💻📚I read and shout 📣 about books 👯‍♀️owner of 2 book-loving Littles 🌳village dweller ✍️stationery fiend 🍸gin enthusiast 📩DM for reviews etc 💌

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