by Derek Johns
Publisher; Portobello Books/London/2007
Plot; Set in post-war England, the Palmer family was once a well-to-do family living in Bath but after a list of bad business decisions and a claim of bankruptcy they find themselves in the small town of Glastonbury.
The family of four must now find a way to fit into their new lives and leave their old lives behind, exchanging an exciting city life full of restaurants and theatres with a more quiet country life filled with farms and wood fire stoves.
My Thoughts; This book had so much promise, but I found the ending to be empty, leaving me with an uncomfortable and disappointed feeling.
The characters were likable enough but I didn't feel as though they evolved as the story went on. The selfish and less-than-thoughtful Father Jim stayed as such, just as Margaret, his wife, continued to tune out his selfish and less-than-thoughtful ways. From half way through the book I continued to hope that he would wake up and change his ways and I hoped that she would stand up for herself, but neither lived up to the potential.
Throughout this book there are so many times when you think it is going to pick-up, such as when the son, Billy, is lost in the cave, or when the threat of police at their door looms, but on all occasions the suspense turns into a lacking.
As I read and became less and less interested I held on the the hope that Johns would finish this book with a bang but, just as the rest of the book, the ending was a total anticlimax for me.
What I will say, however, is that Johns does have a very readable and relaxed writing style and I found that the book flowed easily from the first to last page.
If you are looking for an easy read that doesn't require much thought to fill in a lazy afternoon, this book would fill in the time. But if you are looking for an evocative and absorbing read I would continue browsing the shelves.