Monday, 1 July 2013

Book Review No. 12: The Great Indoors

Ahh, one of the many joys of going on holiday is the opportunity to read lots (and lots, or even just a little.) And there's also the pre-holiday pleasure of choosing which book(s) to pop in your bag. Obviously this does depend somewhat on the type of holiday you're on; trekking in the Himalayas, for instance, might not leave a lot of time for putting your feet up and enjoying a spot of book-delving but a week or so by the beach definitely lends itself to reading, and reading some more. Bliss. So prepare for several book reviews in quick succession since I managed to read three books in the nine days we were away - I was cooking reading on gas. Of course it helps that hubby and I are so competitive and we're eager to see who can read the most books this year; I'm currently winning with number 15 on the go right now, versus his number 12 (childish, much?)

Anyway, let's get on with the show. Here's book number 12 - The Great Indoors by Sabine Durrant.

When we go on holiday (although that makes it sound like we go on holiday a lot, and we don't) I trawl through my unread book case (non-cosy) and specifically pull out books that have been in there for a long time so that I'm forced to read them rather than letting them sit on the shelves for another month, year, decade. I also try to choose books that I might not mind leaving behind (I like to keep books for the most part, don't ask me why, it's just one of my [many] foibles) to make room in the suitcase for a souvenir or two. Hence, this book was chosen. I know I've read another by this author which must be why this one got picked up in a charity shop (pencilled price inside gives the game away) and given shelf-space.

The main character is Martha, a single 30-something who has furniture instead of children and an antiques shop in lieu of any sort of personal life. Her life seems ordered and just as she wants it to be, but all is upset when her stepfather dies. Firstly she is entrusted to home or rehome his cat, which brings a possible romantic lead character into her life (a children's party magician with two offspring and a wife who has gone off to India to 'find herself'); secondly, she finds a bag of her old letters and memorabilia when sorting through her stepfather's belongings. This starts her off on a mission to reconnect with people from her past - school friends, other friends, work colleagues, ex-boyfriends and lovers. She even goes so far as to get back together with one of her exes, but I won't spoil the fun by telling you how that pans out.

I enjoyed this book; I'm not going to say I absolutely loved it, but as a holiday read it was great. I wasn't  expecting it to, but the story and characters interested me and I looked forward to having a few moments (or longer) here and there to get back into their lives to see what was going to happen next. It was a little slow to start, but well worth persevering through the initial pages. However, I found the ending very disappointing and unsatisfying; the story ended very suddenly, almost as if the author had completely run out of steam and/or ideas and just needed to wrap it up there and then.

So, if you see this book in a charity shop and you're looking for something fairly easy, but not too 'chick-litty' to read, it might be worth parting with a couple of coins for it.

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