This book just hit the spot for me as an engrossing and interesting but easy read while on holiday. I picked it up for three reasons: I’d enjoyed the author’s previous novel, Looking Past; I fancied the Cornish small-town setting; and I was interested in the notion of the impact of the London 7/7 bombing beyond London itself.
The heroine, Jamie, is likable and pleasant, doing her best to forge a career in a traditionally male-oriented office (the local paper), while also quite naive in some ways, e.g. allowing her boyfriend, about whom she knows very little, to move into her flat. It’s a coming-of-age novel, in a sense, in that she’s growing into her role and gaining confidence in her career and in herself as a person, despite some pretty hard knocks along the way. (Avoiding going into detail here for fear of plot spoilers.)
The supporting characters, from her family and old friends, and even her dog, to her work colleagues, old and new, are clearly defined and an interesting mix, providing useful foils to Jamie along the way.
A Strong Sense of Place
The sense of place, both in Cornwall and in central London, is well established, with the pros and cons, and the contrasts, well considered. It was a brave decision to build the bombing into the plot, while bypassing all the political implications, and the scene in which Jamie has to make an emergency dash to a hospital with her father is particularly moving.
Given the bombing element, it may sound odd if I go on to describe this now as a comfort read, but that’s what it is, with plenty of tension and twists, but also the feeling that it’s all going to turn out ok for Jamie by the end of the book. It also has a sensitive manner about it that I found so appealing in Looking Past.
I’ll definitely read more books by this author, when I want an engaging, thoughtful, gentle reading experience.
For more information about the author and her books, visit her blog: www.katharineesmith.com
You might also like to read my review of Looking Past.