Landslide by Melissa Leet
|Landslide by Melissa Leet|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A heart-warming and ultimately uplifting novel about forgiveness and redemption. That sounds very worthy but don't be fooled - it's a good read too. Melissa Leet popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: Antrim House|
|External links: Author's website|
The area where Jill and Susie lived wasn't highly populated so it was fortunate that they became such good friends, despite the fact that Susie was a year older than Jill. Susie lived with her mother, an alcoholic, and Jill lived with her mother, who dedicated herself to her garden. Jill's father was Jay Tutle, the photographer, but he spent much of his time working away - often for months on end. In reality there was little difference between the two families: Mrs Smith's alcoholism caused serious illness whilst Susie was still young. Joy and tragedy would visit Jill's home. Landslide is the story of how what happened determined the course of Jill's life and how great tragedy can breed resilience and hope.
I was surprised to find that this is a debut novel: Melissa Leet has delivered a very accomplished story, which neatly cuts between Jill and Susie's childhoods and the lives they lived as adults. Jill is late to enter into a sexual relationship and reluctant to commit to giving it any sort of future. She's adamant that she doesn't want children. Susie had a peripatetic childhood because of her mother's illness: it carries through into her adult life. She doesn't have Jill's hangups about sex or children. Can Jill come to terms with the almost total lack of a father during her childhood? Can she forgive Jay for putting his passion for photography before her and her mother?
Characterisation is excellent: Jill and Susie not only came alive for me as I read, they both stayed in my mind long after I'd turned the final page. Having grown up in a large garden (and her mother's garden is seriously large) Jill relies on the redemptive power of nature and this is reflected in the business which she creates as an adult: she's a well-thought-out and carefully created character whom you could well imagine knowing in real life. You can understand her. The garden itself is a character: it has rooms and there's even a map to guide you through it. The garden's pro-active in the story rather than just an inert feature of the landscape. I loved that!
I liked the story too and particularly the way that the importance of family constantly resurfaces. Each of the main characters (and some of the minor ones) have families behind them. They're not all perfect but there's a constancy of support which warms the heart. There's tragedy in the story - more than one person should have to stand - and I did wonder if I was going to finish the story on a sad note, particularly as towards to end I really couldn't turn the pages quickly enough as it seemed that tragedy would strike again, but I was surprised by an ending which I really didn't see coming and which left me feeling quite uplifted.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland.
Melissa Leet was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Landslide by Melissa Leet at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Landslide by Melissa Leet at Amazon.com.
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