An absorbing read in which it is I think impossible not to feel tremendously sympathetic towards the protagonist Lewis Aldridge who although only nineteen has already had an awful lot to cope with in his young life. What an unhappy young man although nobody seems to notice, or if they do they certainly do not offer to help him.
It was the 1950’s stiff upper lip era and this angry and deeply troubled young man was just labelled as a trouble maker.
The early years of his life were spent solely in the company of his mother Elizabeth as his father was away fighting in the Second World War and they were very close. It is therefore no surprise to the reader at least, that after the tragic death of his mother Lewis suffers from overwhelming grief and anger. His father seems unable or unwilling to help his son and the damage done to Lewis, festers inside him until one day in his teenage years he just cannot take any more.
Never having had the support he needed from his family or local community as a boy, when he returns as a young man after serving a jail sentence his actions have still not been forgiven. His return in fact triggers chaos for the whole community.
The only person willing to help Lewis is young Kit Carmichael the youngest of his childhood playmates, who has her own painful secrets to hide. In her attempt to save Lewis from himself she brings her own father’s horrifying behaviour towards her and other members of her family, out into the open.
A painful, menacing but beautifully and evocatively told story of duplicity amongst the middle classes in a nineteen fifties village in southern England.
If you interested in finding out more about this author you can do so by following this link. I will certainly be looking out for her next novel ‘Small Wars’ set in Cyprus in 1957.