A life-threatening storm in Cornwall has a silver lining, helping two attracted but procrastinating divorcees to commit.
North (The Long Walk Home, 2007), who divides his time between Seattle and Great Britain, places the North American central characters of his second novel in a lovingly described corner of England. His book is as much a hymn to Cornwall—its landscape, communities, history, beer and dry-stone walling—as it is to romance. Affairs of the heart do, however, play a central role in the will-they/won’t-they/of-course-they-will tale of decent Philadelphia professor of architecture Andrew Stratton, criticized by his ex-wife for being only half alive, and prickly, Boston-born Nicola Rhys-Jones, a talented artist now settled in the United Kingdom. The attraction between the two is stymied by Nicola’s volatility, which stems from sexual abuse by her now-dead, drug-dealing brother, compounded by an abusive first marriage to a Brit. This highly colored material sits awkwardly at times alongside North’s lyrical descriptions of coastlines, valleys and welcoming locals. Fortunately, the changeable weather, which delivers a major flash flood, sweeps all hesitations and reservations aside. A truly magical ending seals the deal.
A simple, mildly old-fashioned, intelligently written, if slender, love story.