I haven’t (yet) read Jane Rusbridge’s first novel, but ordered this one as it was so highly recommended by another author whose writing I love (Isabel Ashdown). And the recommendation was worth following up because this book is absolutely beautiful. Just my cup of tea! (She says while supping a welcome camomile & spiced apple…)
The story centres around Nora, a concert cellist who returns to her Sussex home after events in her life means she no longer has the heart to play concerts. Here she lives an uneasy existence with her elderly mother, whose grip on reality is fading and whose fractured memories add to the atmosphere of the novel, and a baby rook that she finds laying in a ditch and brings home to look after. (And I love this little bird – I could picture every last detail – finding its voice, spitting guano, burying food around the house, & I loved its first attempt at flying!).
The book itself weaves together a number of different elements: the history of the village of Bosham, archaeological digs, King Cnut, the birthplace of Harold, Saxon warriors, Nora trying to piece her life back together, and the tightly knit community, to name a few. But the real star of this book is the atmosphere and landscape, which is so beautifully written, and the musical aspects. It’s almost difficult to sum it up and do it proper justice. Just read it!