26/02/2007

The Scent of Water (by Alison Hoblyn)

'The Scent of Water' is a novel by Alison Hoblyn, published by Transita who specialise in heartwarming stories about 'older' women. It's not to be confused by the book of the same title by Elizabeth Goudge!

Ellie, an artist in her late forties who is recovering from the unexpected death of her husband, enrolls on a course in Italy to learn about creative gardening. She makes new friends who have a lasting impact on her life, as she gradually comes to terms with the past.

The first half of the book takes place during the course, including some interesting descriptions of visits to spectacular gardens. The author is herself an artist, and her love of art comes across clearly in many ways. By the time the action moves back to the UK, Ellie is established as an independent and likeable woman who dearly loves her two grown-up children. Life has not been kind to her but she makes the most of it, enjoying simple pleasures and taking comfort from her Christian faith.

The story unfolds slowly and gently, on the whole, making this a pleasant and undemanding read, although some of the themes are not light. There are one or two shocking moments, though nothing graphic; but mostly the mood is mellow, in realistic settings. It was very readable, but easy to put down, and I had no inclination to read more than a chapter or so each evening.

(You can also read my longer review of 'The Scent of Water' at The Bookbag)

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