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Customer Review

on 29 August 2012
I love Katherine Webb's novels - she might not win any prizes for great literature but she concocts a great holiday yarn better than anyone else out there. She manages to handle both period detail and modern, chaotic life and relationships with aplomb. All her books are well-reseached without causing the reader to feel they're being lectured, parrot-fashion, from library books. Characters - especially female characters - are sympathetically drawn, never perfect, and sometimes more than a little surprising.
This was probably my favourite of her three novels, as I really felt the beauty, menace, and sometimes honest dullness and unglamorous nature of the Dorset coast. I was pleased the author had chosen to write some of the novel from the perspective of a man, as her books have been a little female-dependent, and that the men in this novel aren't always the villains of the piece; indeed, they are outclassed in this novel by some fairly outrageous women!
Fundamentally, this is a story of a neglected girl who doesn't really know how to love anyone, and when it happens, she deals with it pretty badly, with catastrophic results. Her naivety and loneliness is both heartbreaking and frustrating.
A few minor flaws - to point them out would reveal the plot - but the main one for me is that Charles as a character was not crafted as well as many of the others. He should have been an intriguing man of mystery and sexual power, so that we understood why women wanted him so much, but I never really got it. He just came across as a pleasant sort of guy to me.
As I say, a minor flaw, because this book kept me utterly engrossed for three days in a soggy, cold tent in Devon. And you can't say fairer than that.
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