Psychological thriller set in the SURREY HILLS, England
Novel set on the Isle of Wight (it’s hot, hot, hot!)
29th September 2013
Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown, novel set on the Isle of Wight.
“The distant whisper of the sea is always there, a transparent layer that lies beneath all other sounds, as it rolls over the beaches that surround the island, ever constant”. Welcome to the Isle of Wight.
1976 is the hottest Summer on record, and the creaking heat pervades everything. The gardens are wilting, there is a hosepipe ban and the people of Sandown and elsewhere on the magical island, are grappling with the soaring temperatures.
Luke Wolff is coming to the end of his time at school and is looking forward to College on the mainland come the Autumn. This is his story, and how he negotiates the final months of being at home with his family. The premise of this novel is unusual, and the covert activities of Luke’s parents and their friends and acquaintances lurk in the background throughout. It is a well written and interesting storyline – although the ending perhaps is a little too unreal (it seems so unlikely that everyone would still get on, and be on speaking terms, once all is revealed). This novel, however, beautifully captures the vagaries of late adolescent life.
Summer of ’76 is a must-read for those who love the Isle of Wight, as it escorts the reader around the island, and it is going to be a particular favourite for those who remember the 1970s – if you smile when you think of T Rex, David Bowie’s Young Americans, slotting a flashcube on your camera, the Triumph Dolomite car, home brewing kits and more, then this is definitely for you!
And I can’t end before I mention the ‘hot’ cover. It’s beautiful, the colours are redolent of a boiling Summer, the composition draws the eye into the centre where two young people are entwined, the flow of the foliage mirrors their embrace. I go on a bit about good covers versus bad covers, and this one definitely falls in the former category. A cover is the very first contact with a reader, so it has to be really novel and eye catching and so many covers are uninspired and boring, to be frank! (here is a link to another favourite cover, not dissimilar to this one: a novel set in Martha’s Vineyard, with a bit from the Marketing and Communications Director at Pan MacMillan about how that cover came into being, fascinating stuff!)
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