A heart-warming, coming-of-age story in post-war Britain set in the North of England was just what I needed during these long, dark nights I’m so glad I won this in a twitter giveaway. Read my review of The Offing by Benjamin Myers.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Prize in twitter giveaway
After all, there are only a few things truly worth fighting for: freedom, of course, and all that it brings with it. Poetry, perhaps, and a good glass of wine. A nice meal. Nature. Love, if you’re lucky.
One summer following the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham village. Sixteen and the son of a coal miner, he makes his way across the northern countryside until he reaches the former smuggling village of Robin Hood’s Bay. There he meets Dulcie, an eccentric, worldly, older woman who lives in a ramshackle cottage facing out to sea.
Staying with Dulcie, Robert’s life opens into one of rich food, sea-swimming, sunburn and poetry. The two come from different worlds, yet as the summer months pass, they form an unlikely friendship that will profoundly alter their futures.
I won the US print version of The Offing in a twitter giveaway by the author, and I have to say the differences between the covers of the two versions are striking. I have copied a version of a blurb (I suspect, the UK one) instead of the one of the back of my version as it is so much more interesting and highlights the inherent joy in this book unlike the US version.
This a warm, optimistic coming of age story set-in post-war Britain with heart-warming friendship between sixteen-year-old, Robert, and a much older woman, Dulcie.
The writing is sensual and evocative especially the descriptions of food and wine and I could imagine the North-East landscape and Robin Hood’s Bay while reading this. I live in the North-East and the spires of Durham Cathedral popping out over the background is familiar as is the impact of the changes to the coal mining industry.
Dulcie is fascinating and I loved her sharp edge and wit, The story is told from Robert’s point of view and the book has only two people-Dulcie and Robert but Romy, Dulcie’s late lover’s presence always lingers in the background.
The plot moves dreamily towards its optimistic and life-affirming end and left a nice, fuzzy feeling after I read the last page.
Suicide- off page