Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
|Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A touching, often humorous story, with interesting characters. Refreshing and uplifting to read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: April 2018|
|Publisher: Two Roads|
|External links: Author's website|
When I read the blurb for this book, I found myself instantly interested in its premise of two people trying to start their lives again following serious life changes. The book did not disappoint.
The book is written by a husband and wife, who split the chapters between the voice of Martin and Zoe. Martin, from Yorkshire in the UK, has recently come through a messy divorce, and Zoe has recently been widowed. Although the couple do not know one another, they both begin a two thousand kilometre walk from Cluny in France to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain. This is following a route known as the Camino – The Way - once followed by pilgrims.
Although neither Martin nor Zoe are religious, they are both told the walk changes people, and both are seeking new starts. Zoe tends toward following fate and this brings her to the walk, hoping she will be able to deal with her grief and feelings toward her husband's death. Martin, on the other hand, is testing out a cart he has designed, which he hopes to sell at a trade fair in Paris, in order to re-build the money he lost through the divorce.
Initially, I found Martin a little arrogant, particularly in the way he is often blaming his ex-wife, and the way he utilises stereotypes. I think, however, that this is the way Simsion intends Martin to react at the beginning, and helps toward seeing his personal growth as the story develops. It is also an indicator of his in-built personality, tending toward being unable to deal effectively with his emotions.
I loved the character of Zoe, which maybe is partly because she is a female character around my own age. She comes across well as an artistic, spiritual type, who has hidden from difficult truths throughout her marriage. The way she deals with the trials of the walk and her resourcefulness made me will her on.
There are lots of other characters who populate the story, mostly the other walkers they encounter. A group of Brazilian women and a male German backpacker, who connives his way into sleeping and eating mostly for free, bring humour to the story and an unexpected warmth towards the end of the book. Martin and Zoe's paths cross and uncross throughout, and as their personalities grow on one another, I began to like both of them more, willing them to end up together.
All in all, a well written, engaging and gentle story, which made me want to pack up my rucksack and head off to the Camino.
If you liked this, you might like The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
You can read more book reviews or buy Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist at Amazon.com.
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