This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay BrooksFran feels conflicted between her busy life in London where her role is to support her financially successful, but distant husband, Malcolm, whilst raising their daughter, and the rural delights of the Suffolk Coast where she grew up. Unhappy in her failing marriage, Fran seeks refuge in a beach hut while she assesses her lot with life. She is soon followed by her brother, her sister-in-law and an ever-on-the prowl Lydia who all have their own reasons for wanting to keep an eye on Fran. The analogy of the sea runs strongly through this novel. Fran reminded me of a helpless pebble being thrashed against everything in her way. She is an incredibly weak character who seems to make bad decisions constantly. I really struggled to engage with the story-line as I genuinely hated all the characters. It seemed almost like they had been given names before personalities and were simply there to push the plot along. I found myself feeling as confused and paranoid as Fran but not sure whether this was an intentional effect. Even Fran’s daughter, Grace, seems like an inconvenient afterthought; she just seems to be constantly being fobbed off on babysitters without there being any reason. The lack or abundance of childcare for this seemingly perfect child just seemed irrelevant to anything else going on. As for the array of characters, they are cold and some of them pointless. Lydia is a vile character and I gained no further understanding of her as the book progressed. There seemed to be no passion in any of the relationships. The female characters are all weakly created and the men are disgusting stereotypes of perverted business-men who believe they have the right to degrade women. I wondered whether all the men were there to simply make Tom, the rather bland hero, seem wonderful in comparison. This novel was a disappointment for me and I struggled throughout. The setting lacks the usual charm given with rural settings. The inhabitants were as bleak and stark as the landscape and the random mish-mash of twists and events thrown in at the end did not make up for the rest of the novel. On the plus side, if you read the worryingly stilted dialogue that comes mainly from the male characters with some sarcasm, there are a few unintentional laughs to be found. 3/10 MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK