Downhill Reviews


5 stars
Reviewed (in Canada) on Goodreads - 15 May 2024
Downhill is a hard book for me to review, because I want to tell you everything — but I don’t want to include spoilers.
Downhill is a raw, realistic love story. It is captivating. What I loved about this book is the originality of the plot, which in combination with the very real and flawed characters, kept me turning the pages.
The story is set in a coal mining village in England from 1979 to 1993, the Thatcher Years, when these mining facilities were being shut down.
The layout of the book reminds me of a diary, in that unimportant periods are skipped, so the characters' lives and events are not pressed into a short, improbable timeframe.
And that, is all I am going to tell you.
A great first novel by Ann Thorsson. Five stars.
I look forward to reading her other books.

5 stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 October 2023
This was some book! Gritty, beautifully written, and very difficult to put down.
The story is set in the Derbyshire / Notts area of the UK and is described on the front cover as a working-class Romeo and Juliet. Ged and Julie meet as youngsters and fall in love. Though from two different backgrounds, they have much in common and all seems set for them to have a long happy life together. It wouldn’t be much of a story if it turned out that way. The author cleverly builds their backstories in such a way that the reader gets sucked into their lives. We want them to have that happy ever after, but work, children, money, and relationships, all make it tricky. We’re taken on a roller-coaster ride with Ged and Julie as they try to maintain the love that first got them together
The setting of time and place in this book was just right, the characters well developed and the plot thoroughly engaging. A fantastic read

4 stars - A bit of Bozer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 April 2021
Verified Purchase
I bought this book when I found out that the fictional Castle Ridge is actually Bolsover, my home town.
As the protagonists are roughly my age, I could easily identify with them and their location as they met, married and lived through the miner's strike. It was really easy for me to picture the locations and of course I read the dialogue to myself in good owd Derbyshire dialect.
The storyline isn't always easy on the reader, dealing with job loss, abuse and death, but the whole is believable and well plotted.
The characters, whilst being believable, did not 'hook' me, and I did not feel that connection that often occurs between the reader and a character with any of them.
Worth dipping in to, particularly if you know the area.

5 stars - Characters You'd Care About
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2021
"The author creates characters I care about and want to keep on reading to find out what happens to them. They sound very real in their North England coal mining country brogue. The twists and turns remind me of a psycho thriller. Very enjoyable read."

5 stars - A brilliant read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 July 2020
Format: Kindle - Verified Purchase
"A really good story set against a backdrop of one of the mist [sic] traumatic times in British history. It has good character development and the storyline has enough twists and turns to keep your interest levels up. Put aside a weekend and enjoy a well crafted story that you will find difficult to put down."

Review by Mark Fearn, online book-reviewer (09.07.2020)
10/10 - 5-stars
‘Downhill’ by Ann Thorsson published in May 2019 by UK BOOK PUBLISHING
248 Kindle Flicks
"Well, this was something completely different, billed as a ‘80’s Romeo and Juliet love story set up North’ it had a lot to deliver on, and it did
Ged and Julie are from the opposite ends of the social scale but meet and fall in love, the story follows their courtship and married life and the difficulties they face being so ‘different’ ( both Mums of the 2 are played brilliantly, I especially loved Beryl, Ged’s Mum, who caused some real LOL moments )
But that’s really where the story starts not ends and it took a surprising turn into marital physical abuse after the loss of a child and a Mothers anguish, harrowing subjects but dealt with really well by the author in her no nonsense, plain speak that was the same throughout the book
The ending caught me off guard and will everyone who reads it....
Perfect 80’s feel is evoked with the music and ‘things about the house’ and of course it is set in a mining village so the Miners Strike and all that that brought is really poignantly described
Its emotive, funny, sad, shocking at times and REAL, the writing style is real and bold and I loved that, I enjoyed the references to Derbyshire ( most of my family are living back there ) and can honestly say its a book of many surprises that endeared itself to me and will do any reader"
5 Stars

5 stars - Easily relatable characters and plot
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 July 2020
Format: Kindle - Verified Purchase
"I couldn’t put it down! The characters are so real and I grew up in the same setting so it took me back to my childhood. A fast moving story too, no lulls. Really enjoyed it."

5 stars - Buy it, read it, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 July 2020
Verified Purchase
"Wow! What a fantastic read, could not put it down. The characters are so real, so believable. Set in a mining town around the trying times of Thatchers Britain, telling of the ups and tragic downs of a young couple meeting and making their way in the world. You can't help but fall in love with the characters, wanting to know what is around the corner, sometimes good, sometimes bad, tragically bad.
Congratulations Ann on your debut novel, I loved it."

5 stars - An incredibly engaging book
Reviewed in Spain on 1 April 2020
Format: Paperback - Verified Purchase
"Since the coronavirus lockdown started, I have been quite bored at home. I was recommended this book and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! It has an incredibly engaging story, shivers down my spine. No doubt the best thing it has happened to me these last 15 days have been reading this book! I highly recommended! Daily live situations with a lot of secrets hidden. I was thinking this could be happening in front of my eyes and I wouldn't be aware!
Kudos to the Author."

27 September 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Strong Stuff
"'Downhill' is endearing and scary, sweet and disturbing, all at the same time. It's a story about life and the many twists and turns it can take. Without spoiling much, this is the story of a couple, Julie and Ged, who fall in love young, get married and have kids... and it's all downhill from there.

The book gets really intense in the second half, and some actions from the main characters caught me by surprise. It can be hard to read at some points, but that's because we get to love the characters and wish their lives wouldn't take certain directions. To me, only a well written and powerful book can do that. And that's why I enjoyed 'Downhill' so much!"

11 September 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - A great read!
"I really enjoyed this story. It is based in the 80s in a Yorkshire mining town. It is a really, gritty story. The characters are all very relatable, and the story is easy to read and understand."

August 14, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Gripping story and 1980s nostalgia
"Loved this book. I took it on holiday and the short chapters made it perfect to dip in and out of. It was quite an addictive story though so I rarely put it down. It has been well researched in terms of the 1980s nostalgia so is very authentic of the time period in which it's set. Really good read."

July 16, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Breathtaking!
"A great novel with great music in it. Can’t wait for the next one from the author."

July 7, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Grabs you in
"For a first time author, Thorsson has an act of grabbing the reader’s attention and curiosity from the start. Highly recommend and looking forward to her follow-up work."

23 June 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Praise for Ann Thorsson!
"Praise for Ann Thorsson, what a read, so well written and such a insight in each character, their community and the period of time. Had a really hard time putting the book down, always needed to know more about what will happen next. Can’t wait to read more of Ann Thorsson’s work."

June 19, 2019 (Kindle format)
5 stars - Excellent read!
"Great book and a story line that took a very surprising turn. It was hard to put it down. I highly recommend it!"

4 June 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Absolute must read, brilliant book.
"This book had me right from the beginning and brought me back in time with endless smiles and the odd tear.
Unforeseeable twists and turns.
Hard to believe that this is the authors first book."

30 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - A good page-turner!
"A very enjoyable read which will keep your attention right through! The subject matter is a little unexpected and unusual and not one often aired, particularly in the 1980s. Well done Ann for helping to bring such a difficult topic to the fore, especially in this, your first novel. The ending was a surprise, wasn’t expecting that!"

27 May 2019 (paperback)
4 stars - Get it, Read it, Love it!
"A great read which connects you beautifully to the time and place.
And then out of nowhere throws you into a spin of questions that you just have to keep reading to find the answers.
Get it, Read it, Love it!
And then tell a friend!"

19 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - An exceptional debut work written by a very talented writer.
"A strikingly bleak narrative chronicling the desperately difficult times experienced by a good many people that includes asides and references that are so obviously familiar to quite a few of us from that era I think. The ethos of a very dark period in English social history is presented here quite brilliantly within the framework of a very familiar story line. You can almost smell the contents of this book as you turn each page, more so if one has experienced first hand a little of the darkness chronicled within. A fast paced, effortless read too, due in part to the very short chapters. An exceptional debut work written by a very talented writer. Well done indeed."

18 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Excellent reading! Could not put it down.
"One of the best books I have read in a long time! Being from the north, this background and this era I can resonate with quite a few parts of the story line. Could not put it down! An excellent read and can't wait for another book by this author."

17 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - So very easy to read and well written.
"This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I got it on Tuesday and just finished it. Excellent book for being the authors first novel. When’s the next Novel out?"