An interesting novel in that it is a love story, but one about elderly people, not an age category you would usually associate with the genre. Simonson explores ageing, death, sexism, racism and religious intolerance in the confines of a small English village. I personally felt that the subject matter was shoe horned into the story with little regard for whether it fit or not, and that the story suffered because of the weight and variety of ideas she wanted to explore. I would have enjoyed it much more had it been more pared down and focused on one or maybe two of the frankly gigantic subjects she writes about.
I thought that the juxtaposition of the modern way of doing things and tradition was handled sensitively and in an interesting way, and I liked the characters.
I get the impression that Simonson felt rushed at the end of the book, with the many loose ends tied up far too neatly and in some areas with very little explanation. I cannot really expand on this without talking about spoilers, but I found parts of the ending over dramatic, totally unexpected and in some parts entirely frustrating (as in, why? Why would this person do this?)
I understand that Simonson is an Englishwoman currently residing in the USA, so I wonder why, in a novel that explores Englishness and tradition there are uses of the words intersection instead of crossroads, and cilantro instead of coriander, Americanisms that an Englishman would never use? There were only a few, but in such a carefully constructed social world, like the village the major inhabits, where nuance is everything, these little things really jarred.
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