Wednesday 23 July 2014

Review ~ Surrounded by Water by Stephanie Butland

Random House UK Transworld Publishers

When Elizabeth’s husband, Michael dies in a tragic drowning accident which also involves a young woman, the whole community mourns his loss. For Michael was a local police officer with a record for bravery and an almost cavalier attitude to saving the public. He and Elizabeth had the perfect marriage; both of them had found their soul mate when they met whilst Michael was on holiday in Elizabeth’s native Australia. Moving to the UK and to life in a small English village was difficult for Elizabeth but with Michael’s love and the support of his mother, Pauline and his friends, Blake and Andy she soon began to call England ‘home’. When rumours start to circulate about the circumstances of Michael’s death, Elizabeth struggling to cope, pours out her feelings to her dead husband in a series of poignant letters.

What then follows is an emotional and totally absorbing look at the way overwhelming grief can cloud judgement and that despite how well we think we know someone, we can never truly know what is going on in their lives.

I found the way the story was written greatly moving and had such sympathy for Elizabeth’s character, although there were times when I didn't really like her very much. But the secrets which threaten to ruin her peace of mind are exposed in a very realistic way, that you can’t help but be moved by what you read, and it would take someone with a heart of stone not to be moved to tears by some of the sentiments expressed.

The story evolves very cleverly and builds up a picture of Michael and Elizabeth’s life together, their problems and insecurities are revealed and the underlying sadness of their lives is shared in minute detail.

I found much to enjoy in this novel, the writing is beautiful and the ultimate conclusion of the book was perfectly executed, so much so, that I closed the book with a smile on my face which, after the way the book started, gave me a real sense of satisfaction, that this was indeed a story well told.

Highly Recommended.

My Thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers  for my copy of this book.


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