18 May 2018



A provocative challenge at a dinner party, a serendipitous encounter on a Northumberland cliff top, the accidental death of a friend and the rupture of his marriage converge to disrupt Peter Bowman's well-ordered middle-class existence as he approaches middle age.

Peter negotiates a sabbatical from his job as a solicitor to pursue his long held ambition to write fiction. He embarks on an odyssey which leads him to new challenges and loves shaped by happiness and tragedy.

 When Peter goes to France to stay with Sally, an enigmatic freelance journalist with a troubled past, he takes the first tentative steps towards writing a novel. But can he, as a member of the pre-baby boomer generation, ever fully escape from the constraints imposed by his background and upbringing and embrace the liberal and permissive attitudes of the 1960s and achieve his lifelong ambition?
- Back Cover Blurb

Ann's parting injunction as he had left for work that morning could not have been clearer.
- First Sentence, Chapter 1

Ann's father's condition had stabilised and he remained in that grey and uncertain clinical no-man's-land, neither well enough to leave hospital nor yet sufficiently ill to cause immediate concern to his family or medical attendants.
- Memorable Moment, Page 34

SOURCE ... Received with thanks from the author.


MY THOUGHTS ... Not what I thought of as a complex plot, this is very much a character driven. What I described to a fellow reader as a coming-of-(middle)age drama; the main character being, not the usual suspect, but rather a middle-aged man. 

A character I'm sure many of us will relate to ... if not indeed identify with on a more personal level. Beyond The Arch's Peter is the type of person for whom, the so called Swinging-Sixties never having existed, is feeling a certain lack of fulfilment; a lack of fulfilment that if fulfilled, others might think of as foolish; of him acting on a whim. 

Meandering with a decidedly melancholy air. Arguably dense of dialogue (my goodness how the author likes his long sentences); some of it inconsequential, much of it fairly stilted. All things that in other circumstance might have irritated me greatly, here they somehow seemed fitting, giving the reader a great sense of, well, Peter.

Definitely one worth sticking with if you are interested in people. After the first few chapters I found myself enchanted by the characters; totally engrossed in their relationships, intrigued by where life would take them but, most of all, longing to know if Peter would break free of those dratted perceived chains and find fulfilment.


DMS said...

Glad you stuck with this one and enjoyed it. Sounds like the characters really connect with the reader. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. :)

So many books, so little time said...

Oooh not heard of this one wee mrs, will check it out, thanks. Love the piccy of you snuggling the wee bunny <3 Always the first thing I notice when I come to visit xxx

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Kelly said...

This is one I wasn't sure about, even through the first of your thoughts... but I think you might have finally convinced me by the end. It's one I believe I'll just keep an eye out for. I do like character-driven novels.

Brian Joseph said...

The plot reminds me, just a little, of some Phillip Roth novels. One difference is that Roth’s protagonists have no problem with permissiveness.

http://www.nightwingsraven.wordpress.com/ said...

What you said about the
characters, they sound
like people with whom
readers can truly and
easily connect. And I
will add the book to my

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like the characters are what really make this book. I will have to give it a try!

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Greetings Tracy. As a middle-aged man I think I could relate to this novel. Thank you for your review and for sharing. Blessings to you. Love love, Andrew.