23/08/2008

Voices in Summer (by Rosamunde Pilcher)

I do like Rosamunde Pilcher's novels! She has a wonderful gift for characterisation, and manages to create people whom I care about so much that I find it hard to say goodbye to them when the books finish.

I first read 'Voices in Summer' in 2001, so it was more than time for a re-read. I found I had almost completely forgotten the book, and the people, so perhaps they weren't as memorable as I had thought.

The main character is Laura, newly married to Alec, but suffering from some internal problem - never clearly spelled out - which requires occasional surgery. She has to go into hospital for an operation at the time when she is supposed to be going to Scotland with Alec and some of his old friends. Alec looks forward to this annual holiday all year, so Laura is determined he should go without her. He agrees, so long as she goes to stay with some older relatives of his.

There, Laura meets some delightful people, has time to ponder some things that worry her, and has a few very unpleasant shocks as well as some nice surprises. There's a low-key 'whodunit' subplot, unusual for Pilcher, when some very nasty anonymous letters start appearing. The revelation, when it came, was fairly easy to guess... but only towards the end.

Perhaps not the greatest novel - this is one of Pilcher's earlier ones, first published in 1984 - but a mostly pleasant light read. Only just over 200 pages, but even then I found myself caring what happened, hoping all would turn out well for Laura in the end.

Recommended to anyone who likes character-based light women's fiction that's more thought-provoking than 'chick-lit'. Still in print in the UK, and widely available second-hand, or as part of a compilation of the author's books.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 22nd August 2008

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