The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse
|The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A tear-jerking story, this drags on in places but still somehow keeps you hooked in to the end.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 330||Date: September 2018|
|Publisher: Lake Union Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Rachel and James have made a new home for themselves, and their son, Oscar, on Bermuda. They have embraced island life, from the hired help (the delightful Cee-Cee) to the sailing life. It's a long way from her former life in England, but Rachel is rather enjoying the way things are working out.
Until, that is, the incident. Spending a few days on the boat, Rachel and James wake up one morning to find Oscar missing from his cabin. There are minimal places to hide on a boat, even as a 7 year old, but the couple still turn the boat upside down looking for him before they have to face the horrible reality that he is nowhere to be found.
The book quickly moves from the sea back to the shore – after all, they're hardly going to want to stay and cocoon themselves in the place the worst thing that could happen has happened - but it's more than that. With time, Rachel finds that Bermuda itself is too much for her as well, and flees back to England and her parents, leaving a bewildered James behind. No one can really understand what she is going through, but the one person who comes close is Cee-Cee, and so she and Rachel begin to correspond in the old-fashioned way. It is Cee-Cee, not her family, not her friends, who helps Rachel start to heal, through her rambling letters where she puts her heart, and her own sad history, on the page.
This is a highly emotional story, and if you're in the mood for a sob you might find it perfect. It was a little too much for me, though. So many feelings but not much in the way of direction. It started (and indeed, ended) well but I though the middle part floated along without much steer. I also could not warm to Rachel. While people can mourn in different ways, the way in which she left James felt sterile and cold, and I didn't feel she deserved his continued attention. I did enjoy the epilogue as it gave some much needed closure, but it took too long to arrive and it felt like the book sailed off course in the middle. The Cee-Cee narrative didn't always feel natural, and although the letters were conversational, I thought they could have worked better as a dialogue, perhaps as telephone calls rather than post. I have a long history of letter writing to friends and family around the world, and even when I know them well, my letters and my writing are still a little more formal in their structure.
Any other niggles? Well the boat was a bit small - at 32 ft it would surely be the only thing in a marina like that under 40 ft. This is Bermuda we're talking about after all, a millionaire's playground (and I sail bigger boats than that on weekends in the Solent). And, it seemed odd they wouldn't close off the companionway at night, especially with a child on board. If nothing else, it lets you know if someone is trying to get on board, but it also keeps out the weather and any wildlife, so is something we naturally do when we sleep on board.
One of my fellow reviewers put it well when she described another title from the same author by saying I wouldn't say that it is an enjoyable book but it is compelling. The same can be said for this story. Enjoyable, pleasant, easy reading – these are not exactly the words I would use to describe The Coordinates of Loss but there's something about it, a quality that's hard to put a finger on, that made me not want to discount it completely. It's a painful read at times, but also addictive. I was frustrated by the pace because I wanted more of a story, needed to know what happened to Oscar. Perhaps it wasn't that I didn't care, but that this book makes you care too much and beg for answers that take a long time to come.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. For more from this author, have a look at What have I done? by Amanda Prowse though you might need to double up on the tissues if you're going to read them both.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse at Amazon.com.
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