The story takes place in 1953 on Canvey Island as a storm approaches. Quickly the waters rise and a devastating flood leaves behind destruction and death. One of those dead is Martin’s mother Lily. Len, Martin’s father had taken Vi, Lily’s sister to a dance, as was customary. Lily preferred staying home to dancing. This time her decision proved fatal as her leg was caught in some debris that had settled below the rising food waters. When Martin went to get help it was too late. The water had claimed Lily’s life.
The novel is a story of Martin’s life and family relationships. Martin decides to become a water engineer to help cope with the guilt from his inability to save his mum. Martin also must cope with the growing closeness between his father and Aunt Vi. Martin leaves Canvey Island, leaves his first love and leaves his problems behind-or so he thinks.
Years later, unfulfilled and disappointed with life as it is, Martin returns to Canvey Island.The allure of the past will test his love for his wife Claire as he must chose passion or infidelity, truth or lies.
The story is told in a multi-voice chapter format from each character’s perspective providing depth and understanding. The author’s honest look at love and death are difficult and often depressing. However, there is enough drama to keep the reader interested and curious to the end. I learned from Linda and Martin, that the past can sometimes be an illusion of reality and not what we expect when we revisit it. (3/5 stars)
Thank you to Library Thing and the Early Reviewer program for this review copy.