In an intensely emotional story of love, loss and deception, a recently widowed woman reaches out to her late husband’s family in Tasmania and discovers she never really knew the man she married.
Newlyweds Eva and Jackson are visiting her mother along the English coast when Jackson slips out and goes fishing early one morning and drowns. Eva is devastated. She and Jackson, a native of Tasmania, met two years ago aboard a flight to London, and they were married eight months ago. She’s a midwife and he worked as a brand marketer for a drink company, and his love gave her a sense of completeness. Now Eva’s loss is so deep, she yearns to be near those who knew him best—his father, Dirk, his brother, and friends who grew up and worked with her husband. Flying to Tasmania, Eva first meets with Dirk, who spends much of his time in an alcoholic haze and doesn’t exactly embrace her presence. Although disappointed, Eva travels to Wattleboon Island, off the coast, to meet Saul, Jackson’s estranged brother. Once again, she gets the cold shoulder as Saul remains closemouthed about his brother and tries to hurry her off the island. When Eva has a sudden fainting spell, though, Saul ends up taking her to the local hospital and allows her to stay in a shack that belongs to his friend. She extends her visit to the area, suffers another devastating loss and finds herself becoming attracted to Saul. Through a fluke meeting, she also finally gets what she seeks—stories about her late husband’s life—but they’re not at all what she expects, and she discovers her husband’s deception is more pervasive than anyone realizes. Clarke (Swimming at Night, 2013) skillfully envelops readers in a delicate, romantic story tinged with intrigue and set in a breathtakingly exotic locale.
Although the many revelations in the final chapters sometimes stretch the otherwise tight plot, the author creates an entertaining narrative.