About the Book
On Yorkshire’s gradually-crumbling mud cliffs sits an Edwardian seaside house. In the bathroom, Jacob and Ella hide from their parents’ passionate arguments by playing the ‘Underwater Breathing’ game – until the day Jacob wakes to find his mother and sister gone.
Years later, the sea’s creeping closer, his father is losing touch with reality and Jacob is trapped in his past. Then, Ella’s sudden reappearance forces him to confront his fractured childhood. As the truth about their parents emerges, it’s clear that Jacob’s time hiding beneath the water is coming to an end.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was looking forward to reading this book after the The Winter’s Child, the author’s previous book was one of my top reads for 2017. I wasn’t disappointed. Jacob, Ella and Mrs Armitage were characters I enjoyed getting to know.
With narrative from 2008 and ‘now’ the reader sees the two children grow and their houses getting closer to the sea. Ella, aged seven, is petrified at the thought of this happening but her relationship with Jacob and her friendship with Mrs Armitage helped her.
I loved the sections that involved young Ella and Mrs Armitage. The author did a brilliant job of making a seven year old character a convincing one and the conversations she had with her older friend were amusing but poignant and I felt both of them enjoyed their friendship.
Ella’s role in ‘now’ wasn’t as prominent. Much of this concerns Jacob and his relationship with his father whose health is poor. It is a much darker side of the novel, a bit worrying at times and I did prefer the lighter alternative.
One of the most fascinating parts of the novel was the level of acceptance that their homes would be lost to the sea. How it seemed perfectly normal that you could suddenly lose most of your garden and eventually your home and just carry on regardless.
A unique and wonderful read.