Book Review: England’s Lane (****)

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley

I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is:

My attention was caught by the description  – a little less ordinary than many of the “blurbs”, which made this book sound as though it might be more interesting than a run-of-the-mill love story.

Lily: Caught up in a complicated love affair, unable to leave but unable to stay. Is this really her happy ever after? 

Pippa: Sinking into despair as she discovers her marriage is based on lies. She can’t bear the humiliation, but what’s the alternative?

Harry: Torn between two women and fighting depression to make it through each day. Will love be enough to save him from going under? 

England’s Lane is a tale of betrayal and forgiveness, family and friendship, loss and redemption. A painful but powerful modern love story, it explores the cost of marital infidelity and the challenges of single motherhood, the legacy of suicide and the healing power of love.

I was right. I found this a really interesting, well-written book. From the onset I was engaged with the characters – although annoyed by one or two, I found each one believable and their actions were consistent with what we knew about them. The one possible exception is Pippa; I wasn’t totally convinced by her voice, especially as it purports to be in a blog. I’m not sure that one would reveal such intimate details in a public blog.

I think the final sentence of the description sums up the themes of the book very adequately “A painful but powerful modern love story, it explores the cost of marital infidelity and the challenges of single motherhood, the legacy of suicide and the healing power of love.” Perhaps the challenges of single motherhood were glossed over a little – the character (I name no names – spoilers!) seemed to have things fall quite neatly into her lap at times, and the baby was remarkably well behaved and considerate, but hey, this is fiction, after all! The effects of one person’s suicide on those around was sensitively described, as was the importance of family, in all its different guises.

It examines some difficult issues – infidelity, depression, family break-up – but is, finally, a book that left me feeling more hopeful for the characters than one might imagine at the beginning of the book.

There were a few issues for me at the beginning, when timelines, voices and stories were not adequately seperated or indicated, so I was a little confused. However this settled down reasonably quickly, and I was able to follow the timeline more easily.

The other issue – possibly just an e-reader issue- was the way paragraphs were laid out. Sometimes there were paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences, or incorrectly placed. Some punctuation was missing too. I hope these will be sorted out before publication as they did rather spoil the reading experience for me.

In all, however, this was an enjoyable, engaging read, which deserves its four stars.

And this is a photo of England’s Lane, in London. Very nice…

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