Being that I am not a country person and was not born until 20 or so years after the period of the story's setting, had I not been given a copy of this book as a present, I would probably not have thought to read it - but I am now very glad that I did!
Right from the start, through the beautifully descriptive prose of the author, we are encapsulated by the sights, sounds and smells of a simpler life in a time almost gone by. Toby is a country lad whose greatest joy is wandering around the countryside doing things such as climbing trees, fishing, making forts, chasing animals and knowing things about nature that most of us will never know.
However, Toby's quiet country existence with his mum who is a local community nurse, is turned completely upside down when Cy, a slightly rough and ready, yet highly intelligent young man from a large town, comes to stay one summer, to help him convalesce from a serious medical condition.
Toby knows he is different from other boys and it is the arrival of Cy which is the catalyst for him to start a wonderful journey of discovery from the innocence of boyhood to the adventurous adolescence of a young man. The greatest skill of author Ken Smith, is to write the developing relationship between the two main characters with a depth of feeling that is tender yet never smutty and peppered with just enough teenage angst between the two to keep the reader wondering 'will they, won't they?'.
From it's heady summery beginning, Ken Smith manages to keep the reader engaged and entertained, right through to the story's emotionally charged and hugely bittersweet ending. Highly recommended!