01/05/2001

An Ocean Apart (by Robin Pilcher)

Robin Pilcher is Rosamunde Pilcher's son. It took me a while to find his books, but when I did I was hooked.

'An Ocean Apart' is his first novel, and I thought it a wonderful debut. David, who has been seriously depressed after his wife died, has been sheltered by his parents; he has started rebuilding their garden. A crisis in his father's business forces him to try and return to work, flying to America with little preparation.

Here, David has a complete breakdown, complicated by a bad dose of 'flu, before he picks himself up and decides to do something constructive. He meets people who can help him, and gradually regains his lost confidence and joy of life.

There was some clever plotting in this novel, as the business thread alternates with David's personal subplot, and - I was relieved to find - there's a happy ending rather, if slightly contrived. The characters were believable and sympathetic - the author must have inherited something from his mother! - even if David does emerge as a little too good to be true at times.

Very moving in places - all in all, an extremely enjoyable novel.

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