I apologize for not having been able to read this lovely sounding book yet, but having seen these stunning images and read Deborahs article I will be keeping it near the top of my rather large TBR pile.
Guest post by Deborah Lawrenson
300 Days of Sun is a twisty story set in Portugal with an atmospheric sense of place, romance, suspense, and wartime history.
In Faro, Joanna, a journalist in her late thirties meets Nathan, a charismatic but reckless younger man. He has recently discovered he is not who he thought he was: he believes he may have been one of the
’s notorious child kidnap
victims. The truth involves a story that began in Algarve Lisbon
during WW2, when the city was the escape hatch of Europe.
It uncovers a love story that crossed enemy lines - and puts them both in clear
and present danger.
When I was growing up, the simple question “Where do you come from?” had no simple answer. I was asked it often because I was always the new girl. As a diplomatic service family, we moved across Europe, the Middle East and Asia and back again, interspersed with a few years every now and then in London.
I went to ten schools, starting with an international convent in Peking (as it was), and including an American school in Brussels and a village school in Luxembourg. Home was less the bolt-hole in London than it was the books and crockery that marked our camp in foreign places. It was always clear, too, that the question of where I came from was actually another way of asking “Who are you?”.
Perhaps inevitably, states of flux and identity have always interested me. Perhaps that’s also why I like to write recognisable landscapes into my novels; the places are the anchors of the story and the human characters reveal themselves in the way they react and adapt to the setting.
Questions about identity run through 300 Days of Sun. It’s an issue that can be hard enough to answer in normal circumstances, but what happens if a child grows to adulthood and discovers he is not the person he thought he was? For Nathan, in the present-day storyline, his understanding of his family, his childhood, his place in the world, is revealed to be a lie. How can he ignore the urge to find out the truth? Would it even be possible to ignore what he now knows?
Joanna, a journalist, is also re-evaluating her life. When she and Nathan meet in Faro, Portugal, she is wondering how to make a new start. He recognises her strengths, and asks her to help him. Her determination to be true to herself, come what may, is crucial.
For Alva, in wartime Lisbon, the moment she changes her perception of her circumstances – and her marriage - is when she realises that her husband has no intention of taking her home to America in 1940 after they have fled Paris. She is forced to adapt to life in Portugal, and in doing so, becomes someone entirely different.
And while Nathan and Alva are in the process of change – change neither of them has sought in the first place – the world around them is unstable, too. Violent storms re-draw coastal geography. Nature cannot be contained even with modern sea-barrier engineering. Economic and political power shifts undermine the individual.
Perhaps appropriately, this novel has several different genre elements. It’s part historical fiction, part romantic suspense, part literary thriller. I always try to write in a way that transports the reader to a setting, capturing a vivid sense of place and I research carefully to make the imaginary experience as accurate as possible, whether that is the smells of the old town, or the soft shushing sounds of the Portuguese language.
Is this evocation of place a way of finding a calm still centre in the wild uproar of life? I sometimes think so. As a writer, I’ve become more and more aware that each book I offer a story to the reader - and a complex weave of subconscious thoughts to myself. Sometimes it has been years after a novel was published that I realise (or allow myself to realise) what the story was really about.
With 300 Days of Sun the time had come to think about all those border crossings and classrooms full of unfamiliar faces, and the fear and excitement of having to start all over again.
If you'd like to experience Faro for yourself through the pages of Deborahs latest enthralling mystery novel you can purchase a copy on Amazon in paperback or for your kindle
Watch this space for my review, I can't wait to immerse myself in this book.