“Mudlarking” by Lara Maiklem

Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

So as anyone can see I’m completely behind with my blogging. There are various reasons for it that I won’t bore you with but suffice to say, I would have much preferred to be reading than doing the other things I was doing.

The situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon so I think I will have to become a little more selective in what I request. But on to the book…

I read an excerpt of this a few months back and was chomping at the bit to read the full book. This is one of those books you see everyone else hyping and feel nothing but blessed joy and peace that other people are enjoying it.

This book is about Mudlarking – a hobby which has some similarities to metal detecting, but is far less disruptive to the environment. Mudlarkers hang out around the foreshore of a river or estuary and search for objects that have been brought to the surface by the tidal ebbs and flows. This book focuses particularly on Mudlarking around the author’s preferred haunts on the River Thames.

Maiklem’s enthusiasm and joy in the treasures she discovers shines through the pages and through years of experience, she has become hugely knowledgeable about the items she finds.

This book is part treasure hunting, part archaeology and part social history and I thought it was great how she enjoyed the simple objects she found just as much as the more exotic finds. Whether your reading about the discovery of a simple pin or a Roman coin, this is one of those books that makes you want to go and do the things you are reading about.

It also helps that Maiklem is a jolly good writer who brings the locations she frequents to life with evocative and expertly observed descriptions. The inclusion of maps and interesting historical asides also help to flesh out the past and present of the Thames landscape, and the perspective from an ‘insider’ in the rather mysterious and closed world of Mudlarking adds to the sense of adventure.

Just a all round stonker of a book. I fail to see how anyone couldn’t find it utterly fascinating no matter how new the subject matter might be to them.

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