4 out of 5 stars

On the coast of Cornwall lives, Ia Pendilly. She is eking out an existence in a caravan in a Britain that is under military rule after being ravaged by floods and cut off from Europe. She is cohabiting with a bloke called Bran, who is some sort of cousin. He is involved in some fairly dodgy stuff as well as his regular job and treats her like dirt when he appears back at irregular intervals.

Whilst walking the beaches finds a child washed up who is just clinging onto life. Nursing this girl back to health opens once again that deep longing that she has had for a family, but she has never been able to carry any of the children she has had with Bran past a few weeks. A chance encounter with someone else shows that people can care for her and as the girl regains her strength it opens a memory and a longing for a past that she remembers. It will take courage though, and a journey downriver, with the hope of a better life.

This dystopian future set in Cornwall in the UK that that has been devastated by climate change and a collapse in society is quite a shocking read. As Ia and Jenna head south across this landscape, Carthew has captured this broken countryside well it is full of passionate and lyrical prose, which is understandable given her background as a poet who spends as much of her time outdoors as she can. It reminded me of The Devil’s Highway by Gregory Nominton where his third and final story in that book is of a landscape that has been irreversibly changed from what we have today. Definitely, an author to read more of.

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