Author – Sarah Harrison
Published – 2008
Genre – Contemporary fiction
Sarah Harrison is one of my few regular exceptions to crime fiction. I’ve been reading her books since the early ’80s and recently realised that there quite a few titles I’ve missed, so it was time to fit one into the busy reading schedule.
Joss and Nico Carbury are in their early 60’s. Nico manages a local theatre, Joss is the Mayor for a year and they have two grown-up children. Although their marriage has had the odd hiccough things are currently on a more even keel and they’re enjoying the fruits of their working lives. They have a somewhat strained relationship with their daughter, Elizabeth, who can be a little abrupt and are surprised when she calls out of the blue to say that she plans to visit for Sunday lunch. When she arrives she has an elderly gentleman in tow – who as the lunch progresses is confirmed as her fiance.
Needless to say that there is some anxiety for Joss and Nico when their daughter announces that she is going to be marrying a man older than themselves in the next few days, and no, they’re not welcome at the wedding.
But the story isn’t an exploration of how the two couples come to term with this age difference, but is about the potential relationship between Joss and her daughter’s new stepson. When Joss meets Rob she becomes convinced that during their first brief conversation something happens that implies that there is the potential for there to be more between them. And Joss believes that this was something shared, that Rob feels the same.
What follows is a sort of teenage angst as Joss tries to deal with what, at first glance, seems to be a crush. For Joss the question is more about whether or not she should act on her feelings, for the reader it’s about whether or not she has read too much into a simple conversation.
I actually found the insight into the Mayor’s role to be as interesting as Joss’s relationship woes – a huge variety of functions she attends.
I have to confess that this isn’t the best book I’ve read by Harrison. The story is small rather than epic. Although the main character of Joss is well written and engaging I did feel that she could be quite contradictory, and the situation felt a little far-fetched.
All in all a pleasant enough read.
Score – 3/5