Friday, 8 January 2016

Learning to speak American - Colette Dartford - great debut

My review:

This is an accomplished and emotional family drama and an excellent debut novel about relationships and friendship which will help establish the author as a writer of womens fiction.

It follows the story of Lola and Duncan a middle aged English couple both struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of their daughter.

Duncan suffers in silence whilst Lola grieves hard and despairingly, their marriage seems to be all but over as they can no longer communicate with each other, and neither can seem to accept the way the tragic loss has affected the other. But in a last ditch attempt to rekindle their old feelings for each other Duncan takes his wife on holiday to the Napa Valley in California where she shows a flicker of interest in an old derelict house which is for sale and the couple buy it on the spur of the moment and begin to renovate it.

Seeing this as a possible chance to start afresh the grief stricken pair begin to merge in to American life and find that coming to America is just the beginning of a journey, which might bring them back to normality but Duncan is hit harder than it would at first appear and has his own demons to battle.

I found it a little hard to relate to the couple, especially Lola, but enjoyed the lovely setting, great descriptions of place and the many characters who take part in the story. It's an engaging, emotional and in parts rather dark story painted lightly with a deft hand and capable style. Essentially a romance it has underlying themes of grief, depression and despair yet its not depressing to read. I read it on holiday and feel it makes an excellent holiday companion as it's not too complex and is an easy and refreshing read.

I received a free copy from the publisher so I may read and review it and these are my thoughts after reading it.

The Official Blurb:

"Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.

Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship.

As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart.

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