Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Long Walk Home

The Long Walk Home by Will North
Source: Purchased
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
View on GoodReads

This was such a lovely little book. It takes place in the countryside of Wales on a family farm/Bed & Breakfast.  The main characters of the story are Fiona and David, the married couple who own the farm and a man named Alec who comes to visit. Alec comes to stay at the Bed & Breakfast because it is right near a mountain where Alec has come to scatter the ashes of his late ex-wife (yes, ex-wife - that relationship is quite interesting).

David has an illness that causes him to have chemical sensitivities, so he lives in a separate building on the property set up specially for him. Meanwhile, Fiona continues to live in the main house where she runs her Bed & Breakfast.  They are definitely still married; they are not "separated," but they do live apart. It is also made pretty clear that theirs was never a particularly close or intimate relationship, even before David's illness.  So into this scene comes Alec. Not surprisingly, Alec and Fiona fall in love. The fact that Fiona is married makes this forbidden romance quite complicated.

I had some mixed feelings about Alec and Fiona's relationship because I'm not normally one to condone or excuse infidelity.  However, this is both fiction and a romance, so I went along for the ride.  And I must say I was rooting for them to work out a way to be together.  What helped me suspend judgement were two things: 1. Fiona and David were clearly not a good match to begin with and 2. David had gone from being merely frustrated and angry about his illness to actually becoming violent toward Fiona.  Sick or not, hitting your wife just does not sit well with me.

I won't give it away, but I will say I really loved the ending of this book.  I think everything wrapped up nicely and realistically.  Even if this book is a tad predictable, I really enjoyed it.  I liked that it had a bit more substance than your typical romance novel, dealing not just with love, but also with loss.

One of the other things I absolutely loved about this book were the cooking scenes. The descriptions of the food and wine made me want to dive into the pages and take a seat at the table. North really sets the scene of the kitchen (and the other rooms in the Bed & Breakfast as well) and makes it feel like a place I would want to be, a place that feels like home.

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