Tuesday, 17 November 2020

The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville @zessomerville @HoZ_Books #TheNightOfTheFlood #BookReview


No-one could have foreseen the changes the summer of 1952 would bring. Cramming for her final exams on her family's farm on the Norfolk coast, Verity Frost feels trapped between past and present: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and her strange new desire to escape.

When Verity meets Jack, a charismatic American pilot, he seems to offer the glamour and adventure she so craves, and Arthur becomes determined to uncover the dirt beneath his rival's glossy sheen.

As summer turns to winter, a devastating storm hits the coast, flooding the land and altering everything in its path. In this new, watery landscape, Verity's tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives forever.

The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville was published in hardback by Head of Zeus on 3 September 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This is a beautifully written story centred around the devastating flood that happened on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s. Having spent a few days in this area earlier in the year, and previously having no knowledge of the flood, or its effects, I found this both fascinating, educational and a wonderful story.

The story revolves around four main characters and each one is perfectly created; from Arthur, recently returned from National Service, but who has never felt himself to be a real part of this small Norfolk community, and Peter, whose sense of responsibility toward the family farm is exhausting him. There's Jack, the American airman; who appears to add a touch of glamour and mystery, and then there's Verity; Peter's sister. Verity finds herself trapped. Trapped by circumstances, expectation and by love. 
The reader also learns about Muriel, a fifth character who has less page space, but whose observations of others is astute and adds a depth to the plotting.
These are a colourful bunch of characters, each one crafted with care, each one flawed and each one complex. 

The author builds the tension of the story as the flood approaches. There's certainly a feeling of underlying menace that builds, along with questions raised about the reliability of the main players. This is a story of secrets, some potentially dangerous for the world, as the risk of Cold War increases. 

The Night of the Flood is a story that builds slowly. The author's evocative description of the landscape and era is extremely well done. It's a rich blend of historical fact, led by strong characters, particular the females. It's a story filled with atmosphere and tension, shining a light on social issues of the time, with a complex and intricate love story threaded throughout.

An impressive debut from an author to watch.

Zoë Somerville is originally from Norfolk, but has settled with her husband and children in the West Country.

She works as an English teacher. 

Zoë began her debut novel on the Bath Spa Creative Writing MA in 2016. 

It is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second - a ghost story.

No comments:

Post a Comment