What’s it all about?:
Pregnant with her first child, Eve Green recalls her mother’s death when she was eight years old and her struggle to make sense of her parents’ mysterious romantic past. Eve is sent to live with her grandparents in rural Wales, where she finds comfort in friendships with Daniel, a quiet farmhand, and Billy, a disabled, reclusive friend of her mother’s. When a ravishing local girl disappears, one of Eve’s friends comes under suspicion. Eve will do everything she can to protect him, but at the risk of complicity in a matter she barely understands. This is a timeless and beautifully told story about family secrets and unresolved liaisons.
What did I think?:
I am a big fan of Susan Fletcher’s second novel The Oystercatchers (which I actually read before reading this) so I couldn’t wait to start this, especially as it was a Whitbread/Costa award winner. The story is mainly set around a specific period of Eve’s life, when she was eight years old, although the story flits back and forwards between this and the present day Eve who is expecting a baby. There are a multitude of issues explored, including her coming to terms with her mothers death, wanting to know more about her father, her relationship with her grandparents and the two men in her life Billy and Daniel, and the story of a missing girl. There is a danger because of this that the novel can appear quite busy, but I didn’t find this at all. In fact, it was pleasant to have so many themes and ideas and I think the author pulled it off well.
The writing is wonderful and almost like a stream of consciousness, but the descriptive kind that you can curl up with and just let the language flow over you. I found it incredibly easy to read, and although I preferred Oystercatchers as a novel, I appreciated the quiet brilliance of this debut which seemed effortless.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):