I’ve just finished As if I were a river, a debut novel by Amanda Saint @saintlywriter. I was sent a review copy by Urbane publications urbanepublications.com, a relatively new publisher led by Matthew Smithfocussing on developing new author voices, and publishing fiction and non-fiction … that YOU want to read.
This carefully-plotted page turner had me hooked from the beginning. What happens when you are suddenly confronted by your past, by terrible loss, when you discover that your whole life had been built on a lie? How do you react, how do you cope when your husband goes out to the corner shop and never comes back? What do you do when your mother leaves you, never to return?
The alternating story of (mainly) two women’s lives – as sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers – is set in the 1970s and the present day and examines the psychological and emotional fall-out from such devastating losses.
Amanda Saint handles her interconnecting stories with great skill (particularly for a first novel). The plotting is seamless, the characters realistically flawed, the language unpretentious and clear and the whole novel very easy to read. Along with the main characters, Kate and Laura, you are constantly asking why? You want to know what is going to be revealed next. A clever addition about a quarter of the way through of another voice (Una) adds more suspense, teasing the reader with hints towards an even deeper mystery – what is Una finding so difficult to write about? What has happened?
I was intrigued from the beginning and loved all the 1970’s period detail of: Babycham, Anais Anais and batwing sleeves! I won’t reveal the ending but it all came to a satisfying conclusion, with a few more surprises thrown in.
My only question was why the title? I googled it and there are songs of the same name… Great title and striking cover anyway! A very good read.