01/05/2007

Blue Slipper Bay (by Wendy K Harris)

Blue Slipper Bay is published by Transita, who specialise in novels for women in their forties. This is a sequel to Wendy K Harris's first book, 'The Sorrow of Sisters', although I haven't read that.

Jill is a psychologist, who's worried about her husband Ash, who runs an alternative health centre in the Isle of Wight. Their marriage is mostly comfortable rather than sparkling, but he's recently been concerned about their student daughter Rose and seems depressed. There's also some kind of mystery to Jill, which is hinted at once or twice in the early chapters. Evidently she's not all she seems...

Jill's best friend is Sophie, who is distraught because her husband Peter walked out on her. Sophie leaves her job and goes to stay with Jill, and inevitably becomes caught up in suspicions and concerns about her friends' marriage. As she works through her hurt and confusion, she begins to discover what she really wants for herself.

And then there's Nick, living alone, recovering from the death of his wife and their unborn baby a few years before the story begins. Nick hasn't really come to terms with his loss, but he copes, just about, by working hard and keeping to himself.

I soon found myself feeling quite involved in the lives of these hurting people. It wasn't long before I could distinguish everyone easily, and found myself particularly empathising with Sophie and her quest for meaning and purpose.

I suppose this book is really chick-lit for older women: there are casual relationships as well as more committed ones, and the plot moves fairly rapidly at times, with a fair amount of action. There are many misunderstandings, too, before the expected romantic conclusion involving two of the characters. But there are deeper ongoing themes running through the book: the vital importance of total honesty in friendship, the necessary balance between freedom and structure for children, and also the background of alternative healing with its benefits and potential dangers.

All in all, a good read, and not necessary to have read the first book. Recommended.

For some reason, this doesn't seem to be available in the USA.

My longer review can be found here at the Bookbag.

Review of 'Sorrow of Sisters' is here, written a year later.

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