Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Book Review No.2: Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

I've read a couple of Anita Shreve's books before and enjoyed them very much (The Pilot's Wife was the first, and I can't for the life of me remember the other - which suggests that perhaps it wasn't that good after all...)

Anyhoo, Body Surfing has been sitting in my unread (non-cosy) bookcase for a while now. I got it from Read It Swap It, but I've no idea what I swapped it for or when. In an attempt to read some of the 'been there for a while, keep getting passed over' books every once in a while (in between bouts of reading cozy crime after cozy crime) I get hubby to choose which book I'm going to read next. And if he picks one that I REALLY don't want to read, then it gets dispatched to the charity shop because, let's face it, if I actually don't want to read it, what's it doing in the bookcase (other than making me look like someone who has a lot of books)? So that's how Body Surfing got chosen as book no.2 of 2014.
The book follows the story of Sydney and her involvement with the well-to-do Edwards family as she helps tutor the teenage daughter during a summer at their oceanfront cottage in New Hampshire. Sydney becomes romantically involved with one of the two older brothers and, of course, things don't go the way that Mills and Boon readers might like them to.

When I first started on the book I thought the style of writing might annoy me; there are lots of 'pauses' in the narrative which are denoted by line spaces in the type. These can be pauses during conversations (as shown in the example below) or in the flow of the story - ie jumping between characters or the flow of time. So, I thought it would bother me, but it didn't. It's a great way of moving between characters and/or time without things feeling too choppy.
Anita Shreve is great at setting the scene amongst this WASP family at its summer residence; her descriptive writing really is spot-on. There is tension in the air and an undercurrent of 'wait and see' which makes the book a page-turner, for the first half at least. Unfortunately, I found that after the big plot twist (which you might see coming a mile off) the book did go downhill a bit. It almost felt as if the author wasn't quite sure where the story was going when she started writing it. She had the idea for a great beginning-middle, and perhaps hoped the rest would come to her as she went along. But I'm not really sure that it did. The first and second halves could actually be from different books.

Overall I would still say that I enjoyed this book and it certainly wouldn't put me off reading another of hers (especially when I recall how much I enjoyed The Pilot's Wife), but there are plenty of other books that I would read first.


  1. Hmm maybe not one to put on my wish list - I have read one of Anita Shreever books and I think I enjoyed it!

    1. I feel kind of guilty giving it a so-so review as I don't want to put anyone else off reading it; it wasn't *that* bad, but it wasn't 'OMG you have to read this' either.


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