It’s June 1999 and Wimbledon is about to get underway. Robina, recently out of a long term relationship and looking for a new path in life takes a job as the carer for Gwen, a largely housebound old lady. As Robina learns more about Gwen she has more questions than answers, in particular what happened to her daughter Rosemary?
Kate Rigby writes with an unconventional style. This is not a complaint, merely an observation. Some readers will appreciate it, others I guess will not. Thankfully, I sit in the former camp. Rigby writes with a local vernacular in punchy terms. It adds layer and depth to the first person narrative.
I’ve previously reviewed Flamingo Circus, which was, in effect, a coming of age diary that occurred over several years. However in Break Point we have quite a different beast. It is fundamentally an exploration of relationships – between Robina and a variety of people. Gwen (the eventually overbearing woman she’s caring for with her own secret), June (the ex-girlfriend we never meet), Tash (the person who split June and Robina up) and Elliot (her brother). Finally throw Shari, provocative colleague exploring her sexuality, into the mix and there’s a slow-burn melting pot of emotions.
Interestingly the story takes place with the back drop of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The author draws parallels between events and the particular game / players on at the time. As the finals near, the events wind to a crescendo and a neat little twist.
Overall an enjoyable read.
**Originally reviewed for Books and Pals blog. May have received free review copy.**
If you're a Wimbledon fan, or even if you're not, this feisty little novel uses the game of tennis - literally and metaphorically - as a backdrop to the cross-court conflicts at Belvedere Road, home of cantankerous old Gwen McMahon. Throw Gwen's carer, Bobbie, into the mix - a lesbian, tennis fanatic - and tensions are never far away. Bobbie is warm and approachable and certainly no quitter. As the 1999 Championships reach their climax so too does the off-court drama. This novella will surprise and entertain you, like any good tennis match.
This is a nice surprise, like all good novels. It features tennis a lot, but mainly the experience of being an avid Wimbledon watcher rather than anything to do with actually playing the game. But over and above that it's a psychological drama, mixing up the age groups (the world through the eyes of the young having to deal with the old, if that makes sense), relationships, and the unfolding of events during one Wimbledon fortnight.
KR's style is kind of understated and a bit off-beat. She's no cliché merchant, that's for sure! Well worth dipping into, and it's a concise pleasure - over all too soon in two sets, definitely not an overblown five-setter.