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by Anne Youngson

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-76461-4
Publisher: Flatiron Books

Two women use a narrowboat to discover what they truly want in this easygoing road-trip tale.

Eve has just been let go from the corporate job she’s been striving at for 30 years. Sally has just left her husband, not out of anger but boredom. Both women, in the prime of their midlives but unsure what they wish to do now, find themselves on the same towpath by the canal in a town near London when they hear a dog barking his head off on a nearby narrowboat. Freeing and subsequently losing the dog is how they meet his owner, the enigmatic Anastasia, a woman of the canals who is in need of a serious medical procedure. Anastasia has to stay in town to be near the hospital, but her beloved boat, the Number One, needs to be driven up to Chester for repairs. Despite having just met, it seems like kismet, and Eve and Sally agree to take the boat while Anastasia stays at Eve’s apartment. As the two women wind their way north, they meet people, learn about the boat, and find out more about who they truly are. Youngson has populated this journey with so many interesting characters: Arthur, who appears and disappears as he pleases; Billy and Trompette, young lovers Eve and Sally keep bumping into; Owen, the taciturn shop owner they’re taking the boat to. Having two women whose lives are adrift be surrounded by far more attention-grabbing folks is, unfortunately, a missed opportunity. Sally's and Eve’s personal journeys just never quite match up to the backstories of their new friends. While the tale is a lovely little meander, it’s a shame the most exciting things happen off page.

Like a canal, lovely but shallow.