16 September 2008
Book Review: Pastures New by Julia Williams
I know that the story doesn't sound like the most exciting in the world, and it certainly isn't, but what it is is a lovely, heart-warming story of love, confidence, discovery and trust all stuck together by the wonderfully indulgent and enjoyable setting of Nevermorewell and a cast of lovely characters. The author Julia Williams has really opened the eyes of the reader when she created this little world, and totally allows you to lose yourself in her words and feel yourself being sucked into lifen the allotments with a warm cuppa in your hands!
This was what I really loved about the story to be honest. I do love a book where you can just close your eyes and imagine yourself there, sitting alongside the characters, and this is exactly what this book delivered on for me. I could imagine the little houses of Nevermorewell, the muddy but cared for allotments, and Amy's little terraced house, and this just added to the charm and authenticity of the story itself. Williams really has the knack for writing places that you can instantly imagine yourself in from the first few pages of the book.
As well as wonderfully written settings, Williams has created a likeable and funny group of characters to follow through the story. Being the main character, Amy was the main focus of the book and she was definitely a loveable character. I sympathised with her circumstances, losing her partner and having to leave all her memories behind, but this made me warm to her much more quickly and I therefore wanted things to work out for her. Together with her son Josh, the pair made a lovely family and Williams has written a brilliant relationship between the pair which is touching and heart-warming.
There are other characters throughout that play their own important part as well. Harry, an elderley gentleman who owns an allotment near Amys, is Amy's first friend in Nevermorewell. He also hits it off with her son Josh, and he features strongly through the book and is the sort of neighbour we would all want! Ben is Amy's love interest and close friend, a real man's man who loves his GP practice, his motorbikes and looking after his friends. He was so much like Amy that the pair were perfectly written and seemed so perfect for each other! Caroine is the town vamp and an awful woman but equally laughable, she provides a bit of welcome comic relief into the book. And finally Saffron, Amy's new business partner and stressed mother of young children, she's trying to rebuild her marriage as well as her business.
But what I really loved about this book was just the way it plodded along in its own little pace, but it never seemed boring! It was a slightly predictable love story with a somewhat inevitable outcome but that didn't bother me at all. I could really sit down and immerse myself in this fictional little world, and I came to really care about these people and this village. Williams clearly has a knack for writing things that will touch people, and this is certainly a great debut novel. The third person narrative is enjoyable and easy to read, sweeps all over the countryside and its ways of life, and draws you into Amy's world of love, discovery and finding your old self. Definitely recommended, a lovely read especially for these coming cold winter months, one to curl up with.