Tuesday 17 October 2017

The Chalky Sea by Clare Flynn

Amazon UK £2.99 £9.99
Amazon US $3.85 $15.87
Amazon CA $20.40

This title is shortlisted for the October Book of the Month

Family drama

When I bought A Greater World by Clare Flynn, I didn’t know what to expect. Within a few pages I was captured not only by the writing and immersion into the historical period, but by the fine development of Flynn’s heroine over the years. When I was offered the opportunity to review The Chalky Sea for Discovering Diamonds, I leapt at the chance.

The Chalky Sea does not disappoint. The author knows Eastbourne, on England’s south coast, and has researched its history in detail, but she uses it deftly to illustrate her story and never allows it to cloy or bore as we see in some historical fiction. The detail is cleverly woven into the essential story of two people from different backgrounds, ages and character. One is intensely proper, emotionally defensive, an outsider in many ways, yet yearning for something undefined; the other, unsophisticated, even innocent, and wounded by betrayal.

War and its circumstances, give release to both; Gwen grows to recognise her emotions, to enjoy herself and express her feelings, Jim hardens up and achieves balance. Both step out of their previous worlds to cope with horror; we are with them not only in the harshness of the barrack room or battlefield, and the body count after a Luftwaffe raid, but also in the new friendships and sense of purpose in a period of violent change.

This is a stylish, unusual and well-written Second World War story which I heartily recommend.

© Jessica Brown

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