2.5 out of 5 stars
Pearl hadn’t intended to end up in the river and she is not fully sure how she got there either. It might have been something to do with falling down the very dodgy stairs in her crumbling house. But she is in there.
Ada, Pearl’s daughter, had never expected to end back up in her mothers home again, in that rain-soaked valley and people that she wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing after leaving them behind over a decade ago. The house is slowly succumbing to the relentless weather, the heating has failed and it is so damp that she can barely get a fire going.
Pepper has always followed her restless mother, Pearl, around from place to place as she sought somewhere to settle. She is a nomad too, but this house is full of things to discover, memories that she never knew she had from her past generations and there is that strange old woman who sits on the river bank with her feet in the cold water.
Pearl does not want to stay, this place has too many unhappy memories for her, but winter is coming and before they know it they are involved in life in the valley once again. They never thought that they would settle in one place, but things are changing, Pepper has calmed down and they feel they have a presence keeping an eye out for them both.
There were some parts of this that I liked, the writing is atmospheric and has wonderful descriptions of the river and the natural world outside the house. The three main characters, or two and a bit really… Pearl, Ada and Pepper are all independent and in some ways a bit dysfunctional way too, the way they interact and change as circumstances develop is the main point of the book. One problem that I did have with it was I kept thinking that Ada was the grandmother mother figure who permeates the book in all sorts of ways, but it was her daughter! There is precious little plot in here, and if you are after stories with a similar feel but with a bit more substance to them, I’d recommend Lanny or Elmet.