Every so often I read another Salley Vickers book in the hope that she has recaptured the magic of Miss Garnet's Angel or The Other Side of You, but so far I've been disappointed.
In this book Violet Hetherington, widowed by the death of her second husband, Ted, embarks on a transatlantic crossing to meet her former mentor, Edwin, whom she has not seen for many years, and with whom she shared a flat and a close but Platonic friendship in their Cambridge days. The story of these earlier years and of her developing relationship with Edwin's jealous and overbearing friend Bruno is interspersed with the details of the voyage to New York. Bruno is a thoroughly unpleasant character, but Vi gets more and more involved with him despite the warning inner voices. Nevertheless, I found this back story the more interesting of the two.
On the liner, Vi has booked an extravagant cabin (or a room, she calls it) with a balcony and a steward who I found immensely irritating. There is a large cast of fellow passengers with confusingly similar names, and by the end of the crossing I really didn't know or care who Les, Ken, Jen, or Baz, or Greg were. Even Des, a member of the ship's crew and Vi's dancing partner, has a three-letter name with an `e' in the middle, although he's known as Dino on board. That she also spent time on deck smoking with him seemed to me improbable.
The three all-too-brief chapters after Vi's arrival in New York, when she meets up with Edwin again, were the best part in my view, even approaching the subtle depth I always hope for from Salley Vickers, but overall I was disappointed with the book. It's pleasant enough but there are plenty of better books to read.