The Gosling Girl
by Jacqueline Roy
- Published: 5 Jan 2023
- Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),
- Crime & mystery,
- Thriller / suspense
'[The Gosling Girl] interrogates the context of a child's crime and simplistic notions of evil by society and the media. It fosters understanding & empathy and draws us deep inside the protagonist's psychology' Bernardine Evaristo
Monster? Murderer? Child? Victim? Michelle Cameron's name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media.
As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again. When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again.
Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done.
The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle's story is co-opted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.
Praise for The Gosling Girl:
'This intriguing procedural is above all a portrait of two damaged women and a moving demonstration of how race and class have affected their lives' The Times and The Sunday Times Crime Club
'This is a beautifully written, insightful and thought-provoking novel. Michelle's story drew me in immediately, and while it's heartbreaking in places, it's uplifting in others. Jacqueline Roy writes with deep compassion and empathy, and I have a feeling this wonderfully compelling novel will stay with me for a long time' Susan Elliot Wright, author of All You Ever Wanted
'A thoughtful, slow-burn exploration of how damaged children damage, The Gosling Girl asks whether some children are born evil - and shows emphatically that an abusive childhood is to blame. I felt increasing sympathy for Michelle Cameron, in all her manifestations. At times, disturbing, poignant, and thought-provoking' Sarah Vaughan, author of Anatomy of a Scandal and Reputation
'It was refreshing to read a thriller that wasn't full of twists, though I kept waiting for them, as I've been conditioned to expect them. This well-plotted story follows Michelle, who's recently been released from prison. Does someone who's committed an awful crime deserve to start again?' Prima
'Written with compassion, and an exceptional sense of identity by Roy - born to a Jamaican father and a British mother - it is both striking and powerful' Daily Mail
'(a)...provocative tale of institutional racism, and how the marginalised fight back' Stylist Magazine
'A powerful look at institutionalised racism and the after-effects of a childhood crime' S Magazine
'The Gosling Girl is one of the most moving thrillers I've read for some time' Observer