Tomorrow is publication day for our July book of the month, and I am very excited to be talking about it as our first post for the Indie Book Network. I was gifted this book by Emma, the publicist for Myriad Editions, because she knows how much I've enjoyed every single Myriad book I've ever read (seriously, never read a bad one across fiction, non-fiction and many graphic novels), and I was engrossed from the first page.
Firstly can I just say how much I love the cover of Pondweed? It's simple yet entangling, with a hint of hope at the top where you can see the sun shining through the water. Excellent work from Clare Connie Shepherd, who has designed lots of Myriad's covers. If you've been reading our blog for a while you'll know that my reviews tend to be more emotional responses than what you'd technically recognise as a standard book review, so please bear with me.
One afternoon, Selwyn Robby arrives home with a caravan that isn't his and demands his 'not wife' Ginny leaves with him. Selwyn and Ginny are teen sweethearts who go their separate ways and meet about fifty years later and resume their relationship,and the book is told from there in a very backwards and forwards kind of way through memories and stories about the people that they meet as they travel across the country.
Lisa Blower is an excellent storyteller; captivating and pacy, and her writing pulls the story along despite itself. We hear everything from Ginny's point of view as she tries to figure out how she fits into Selwyn's life after most of their lives apart, and many secrets kept by both of them. Their secrets gradually come to light over the course of their frantic and mysterious trip and the conversation, or lack thereof, between them is a major feature in the development of the story.
I have to say I found Selwyn infuriating for most of the book, and if I were Ginny I would have left him! He's a very well drawn character, and his superiority and refusal to accept that he might be in the wrong about anything was entirely believable and incredibly annoying. It's completely reasonable to want to know where you're going and why, but throughout almost the entire book he seems to want Ginny to just do everything he tells her to without asking any questions at all. The novel is made up of push and pull - Ginny asks questions, Selwyn refuses to give reasonable answers, and every now and then they arrive somewhere, seemingly at random but is it really? It's a phenomenal talent, to be able to to make people care about the history of people that they don't necessarily even like that much, and Lisa Blower manages it brilliantly.
I think this is the perfect book for the kind of summer that we are currently having, full of questions and uncertainty! It's an easy read - even with my current distraction levels it only took a couple of days to finish - and I think Selwyn and Ginny will stay with me for a long time.