Peter Snell, bookseller – 5 stars
Many years ago, when I was a bookseller, one of my staff used to judge books by their physical properties and hand feel. This book would have passed her test. Jo would have loved the way the pages fan so softly and flop open beautifully with no hindrance from the beautifully supple spine. The jacket design is just right and draws one in. Oh, and the book smells just right.
Before I delve into the characters and the crafting of this story let me provide two short quotations. The first is describing one of the characters and paints such a vivid picture in my mind; the second describes a scene to perfection:
“…a floor-skimming coat that made him look like the last survivor of a Byronic battlefield.”
“…a crumpled tinfoil sea of blue and silver mountains.”
I have already told you how easy the pages are to turn. Please take this metaphorically as well as literally. It has been a long time since I had the pleasure of reading a book where the words pour into my soul so effortlessly.
The various settings and technical aspects of the writing are evidence of careful and meticulous research.
I can relate to all the characters in this tale and understand them. I may not like all of them but they ring true. They are developed and fleshed out in a very natural way without any intrusion of the writer’s craft and slowly the layers of complication of characters, plot and motivation are peeled away to give us a fuller understanding of the dynamics in this small group.
I came to what I thought was the resolution of this tale and realised that I still had one hundred pages left to read. I wondered what might be left to resolve or explain. Fear not, surprises and revelations continue until the very end. This is a very satisfactory and satisfying novel.
I do not wish to provide any plot spoilers other than those in the blurb from the back cover.
Your soul will love you if you read this book; trust me, I was a bookseller.