I was kindly given a free review copy of this debut novel due to my Scottish connections – the key character is Scottish and the action begins there – and I am very glad because this turned out to be a cracking read that captivated me from the first couple of pages.
The story is narrated by young graduate and aspiring actress Bobbie Sinclair. Her ambitions are thrown off course when her boyfriend commits suicide just after she breaks up with him. Deciding never to fall in love again, she descends into a self-harmful pattern of behaviour that swiftly gets out of control, despite her innate kindness and desire to help others.
The plot takes many twists and turns, and I found myself wrong-footed at least once, as she sank deeper into trouble.
Along the way we are taken from Glasgow to London to other parts of Scotland, and behind the scenes of many lines of work, including art gallery management, theatre, waitressing, counselling, journalism, advertising and money-laundering. Interestingly the world of advertising doesn’t come out much better in moral terms than the money-laundering (fair comment, I’d say!)
The characters, the settings and the industries are all very well drawn, and the era of the 1970s is extremely well evoked – the references will delight readers who remember them ( as I do) and paint the age effectively for younger readers.
Overall I really enjoyed this intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate book whose ending (no plot spoilers here!) was entirely satisfactory. It is a really accomplished and flawless first novel. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Note: there is a lot of (plot-justified) sex in this book, so don’t leave it lying around in the coffee table if you have young children in the house!
For more information about G D Harper, visit http://www.gdharper.com.