The Fountain (by Mary Nichols)

I came across Mary Nichols rather by accident, but enjoyed the other book of hers that I have read so far - The Summer House.

I was given 'The Fountain' as well, and have read that in the past ten days or so. It's set in the 1920s and 1930s, and features Barbara, a young woman at the start of the book. Her best friend's brother Simon is rather keen on her, but then she meets George, a local builder, who is determined to wed her. George is used to getting whatever he wants.. and so, before long, they find themselves married.

Barbara has to get used to her widowed father also falling in love, and her mother-in-law being rather disapproving. But those are minor compared to the increasing realisation that her husband sometimes uses unscrupulous methods to succeed in his work. She becomes uncomfortable, and stress increases as they drift further apart.

The writing is crisp and the story moves at a good pace, even if there are one or two rather more explicit passages than I would like. Barbara is realistic and likeable, although I found it hard to believe that she could ever fall for the awful George. In a way it's a coming-of-age book, since Barbara gradually discovers who she is, what she likes to do and where she can best find fulfilment.

Some of the subplots involve rather complex and shocking incidents from the past, although by the time they were revealed I had guessed (I assume intentionally by the author) what they would be. The climax is a little over-melodramatic, but possibly the only way that the book could come to a satisfactory ending, as happened.

All in all, I enjoyed this.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th July 2011

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