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Summary

One of the Observer’s New Faces of Fiction 2018.

Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate, moving, powerful coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness, of learning what we should cling to and when we need to let go.

Belinda knows how to follow the rules. As a housegirl, she has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi.

Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.

Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.

So Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London and must leave Mary to befriend a troubled girl who shows no desire for her friendship. She encounters a city as bewildering as it is thrilling and tries to impose order on her unsettling new world.

As the Brixton summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover the beginnings of an unexpected kinship. But when the cracks in their defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding tightly threaten to seep out.

©2018 Michael Donkor (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"An arresting and textured novel...He has a gift for succinct, piercing description." (Observer)

"Moving and funny, a big-hearted book that will stay with you." (Guardian, Best Fiction for 2018)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Didn't love the performance but lovely story

I didn't love the performance to be honest but I thought a story about these young girls and how their lives overlapped and what it means to be an immigrant in London was a beautiful one. The description of the funeral was one that teared me up as an African, what a beautiful one. overall a lovely story.

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Simply fantastic!

The author describes scenes quite vividly! Beautiful use of language. It's like watching a film. Wow! well done! The best ever.
And Adjoa! what can I say? I am spoilt forever. I now seek books that she narrates. Fantastic! Her accents are amazing!
Before this I listened to A Respectable Trade where Adjoa does wonders like always. Before that Americana and my goodness!!!..... list goes on👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿

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Yet to get sucked in, So it's a NO from me.

Coming from a reader who loves books written and inspired by the African culture/Writers. Must say I am pretty disappointed, that I am yet to get sucked in by this book. Struggling to stage engaged. Which at this point for me makes it not a good book to me. However, some of you may feel different and I would love to know if any of you share the same opinion as me.

The first few chapters, Set in Ghana was great. Once the character moved to London the story started to get boring. I couldn't continue.

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Shines in its dialogue and exploration of emotions

It took me some time to get into this story and at times I wondered why I was persevering. But the dialogue between Belinda and Amma is stunning at times - raw, breathtaking and painfully insightful and honest. I mourned the loss of their interactions when they parted and found the story didn’t offer me anything else to keep me captivated. Belinda is a complex character and she’s well written, but at times I felt as lost as she was with the story. I’m glad I persevered but I didn’t find this a satisfying read. Having said that - I feel the interactions of Belinda and Ama will remain with me for a long time to come.

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  • Chassidy
  • 23-09-18

Lost Potential

This story had a lot of potential, but none of the main themes were ever resolved. I would not have purchased this title had I known there would be such an extended and crass discussion of lesbianism. So much of the book was dedicated to the death of one character. The book's only redeeming quality was the wonderful performance by Adjoa Andoh which I enjoyed as usual. I have never experienced this problem before, but some parts of the recording were repeated.