It’s always a bonus when a book takes you travelling and The Unravelling of Maria offers much to learn about place and recent history. Two lovers separated by war and mischance provide the emotional theme, and an unlikely friendship adds depth and credibility. The author deals with some tough topics in a realistic manner, neither skimming over nor sensationalising difficult issues. I found myself empathising with Maria and Angie early into the story as they both faced challenging situations. Jaak’s story has a wider sweep, tackling the hardships of war, injustice and deprivation. As the title suggests, it is a slow reveal, but is never less than engaging. Scotland, Estonia and Siberia provide the backdrops to this interesting book. This novel is well researched and the writer has a clear connection with some of the locations. Add to this an eye catching and beautifully fitting cover design. I look forward to reading more by F J Curlew.