I was offered The Confirmation by L G Dickson to review. I do love a book to review and love the thrill of receiving them through the post. If you ask me, a Kindle or screen can never compete with the pleasure of a good old-fashioned book.
This is not a complete book review but I wanted to share my initial thoughts as I am now about halfway through the book.
Our leading character is Annie who we meet as a single lawyer in Edinburgh in 1990. She has four close friends who make up two settled couples. There is Kirsty who came across as a leader in some ways and her husband Duncan who has drink issues possibly triggered by a challenging relationship with his father. In contrast we have Virginia and Gordon who have a passion for sustainable living. It is at a gathering of the friends that Annie meets James who becomes her lover despite all of the group including Annie finding him rude on that first night.
James has a keen interest in crofting and not long after they get together takes off to help a community project. Little does he know that Annie will soon be facing challenging times with a family bereavement which exposes secrets including the existence of an unknown child.
My initial thoughts
This is not a book that I rush back to keen to know what happens next. Having said that it is a pleasant enough read but I can leave it for hours unlike my favourite books.
I also had a strange feeling that I have never had in a book before in that I was far more interested in the side characters of Kirsty and Duncan than I was in Annie and James. I could not really get a grip on Virginia or Gordon at all or not yet anyway.
The author L G Dickson comments:
“The idea of writing about a woman who finds strength at points in her life when it can be so easy just to crumble really appealed to me,” reflects Dickson. “I think we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.”
As I say I am have not finished reading this book and have some way to go. I like the premise of the author in reflecting on a woman who keeps on keeping on through life’s twists and turns over 15 years and I can see I am quite early in her story. I just wish I could care about her more. I would also like more scene-setting around the issues of crofting in Scotland but that might come later in the book.
Thoughts having finished the book
I was hoping to report back in a more favourable light after finishing this book. Sadly, I was surprised to find even more things I did not like as the novel continued. After quite a gentle pace, suddenly we were flying through years at breakneck speed. I still did not really care about the main characters at all. As my frustration with the book continued, I also lost interest in the side characters to an extent.
Lots happened. Characters who could have been interesting appeared but were not made the most of. I remember reading about good writing and how authors should show rather than tell. I felt that in the latter half of the book in particular there was more telling than showing. There were so many potential good stories in the book – the development of a sibling relationship after years apart, the revival of crofting, the healing of a difficult relationship between father and son and more. All of these were hinted at but not developed enough for me to work up an emotional connection.
If pushed to give a mark out of ten, I would give six.
ISBN: 9781788035736 Price: £7.99