Top positive review
So much to like about this book.
25 August 2014
The narrator of this novel is Ailsa Robertson. She lives in Fife, on the East Coast of Scotland, she has just left school, she has plans to move to Edinburgh - and she is facing a somewhat challenging family situation. Alisa’s mother is a vulnerable woman who has had a string of health problems. Her father is absent for mysterious reasons which have haunted Ailsa’s childhood. She remembers him with love, as an affectionate father, but he left when she was only six years old. Unravelling the mystery of why he left and what really happened is part of the story, as is the relationship between mother and daughter, between father and daughter, and the getting of wisdom involved in setting out on adult life and relationships in the wide world beyond home.
There is so much to like about this book – not least the narrator who is so real that she leaps off the page. I know the area Ali Bacon is writing about and her sense of place, her evocation of it, is spot on. You can practically smell the sea air. And when later, the story moves to Edinburgh, that too emerges strong and true. The characters are vividly drawn, not least because the dialogue is consistently excellent, realistic, well handled.
This is a very grown-up book – sexy and sensual in all kinds of ways. It doesn’t pull its punches, it’s hard edged as befits the area and the subject matter. But it’s also poetic in the polished spareness of its prose and entertaining in the unique voice of the narrator.
Perhaps most important of all, though, this is a good read, a very good story, pulling you onwards, so that you want to keep reading. And that’s a gift.