Bella is his debut novel and a love song to the Black Country.
It is a text that deals with queer identity and experience, specifically in a non-metropolitan setting, showcasing the upheaval and difficulties facing the working-classes of post-industrial communities.
The novel plays with oral traditions of storytelling, using Black Country dialects and the different voices of multicultural Britain. It is also a novel that fuses different genre tropes. It is set in Dudley and follows several characters from different eras, attempting to understand the strange pull the local woods have. This rhizomatic, multi-perspective narrative is part ghost story, part social realism, part queer erotica.
BELLA is due to be published in Spring 2020.
This is quite a difficult book to review as it doesn’t really fit into one particular genre. But what it is, is unique.
Written from the perspectives of many characters, all of which have their own way of speaking, so it’s really like having a bit of a chat. It’s genius storytelling using the dialect and accents of the characters, and while it took me a little while to get into the swing of the language, it really brings it to life. I could almost hear the brummie accent.
It has an honesty about it, a love for people and their stories, from local history, spooky tales and love in all its forms. An homage to the Black Country and those who call the area home. A short tale, but thoughtful and thoroughly engaging.
Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.
You can pre order a copy here (due Feb 6th 2020): https://amzn.to/36L8CSi
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.M. Francis is a writer from Dudley. He completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton for a project titled Queering the Black Country and graduated from Teesside University for his Creative Writing MA.
He’s the author of four poetry chapbooks, Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015), Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016), Corvus’ Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018) and Lamella, (Original Plus, 2019).
Follow Rob on Twitter @rmfrancis