Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review as part of the blog tour for The Night of the Flood by Zoë Somerville. With thanks to Lauren at Head of Zeus for the invite to join the tour and for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…
An atmospheric literary thriller set in north Norfolk in the shadow of the Cold War, in which a love triangle turns murderous.
Her heart beat hard. There was a crazed beauty to the storm. It was almost miraculous, the way it took away the mess of life, sweeping all in its path…
No-one could have foreseen the changes the summer of 1952 would bring. Cramming for her final exams on her family’s farm on the Norfolk coast, Verity Frost feels trapped between past and present: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and her strange new desire to escape.
When Verity meets Jack, a charismatic American pilot, he seems to offer the glamour and adventure she so craves, and Arthur becomes determined to uncover the dirt beneath his rival’s glossy sheen.
As summer turns to winter, a devastating storm hits the coast, flooding the land and altering everything in its path. In this new, watery landscape, Verity’s tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives forever.
There is an intriguingly short opening chapter to this book set in 1954 that refers to a devastating flood which took place a year earlier in 1953. However the details aren’t fully made clear which in turn made me very curious to see how everything would play out. The reader is then taken back to May, 1952 and we meet siblings Verity and Peter along with their childhood friend Arthur. However the arrival of Jack, a confident American pilot changes this group’s dynamic forever.
The pacing of The Night of the Flood is very good and kept my interest throughout. There is a tangled romantic aspect to the story that brings trouble for all the characters involved. Verity finds herself at the centre of a lot of the drama whether it be from jealousy or romantic interest. In a way Verity has a kind of naivety to her character that helps to soften some of her actions. To be honest the only character that I became attached to was Muriel who was a kind of outsider to this group. This gave her character a small insight into what trouble lay ahead as she was on the outside looking in. I guess just like me as the reader. Even though I didn’t find the rest of the characters particularly likeable I couldn’t help but be drawn into their increasingly chaotic lives. All of which builds to a tense conclusion as both the flood and other events come together.
The setting is also an important part of this story as some of the characters feel trapped by their lives and circumstances. So I guess the mysterious and vibrant Jack is something new to provide a wonderful distraction from a life they don’t necessarily want. Along with the setting you get a backdrop of the Cold War which also provided a dark shadow of uncertainty. For me The Night of the Flood was a story of tangled connections and relationships gone awry. A captivating story filled with secrets, desires and destructive actions.