Rosemary and her family have lived in the block of flats for as long as she can remember, safe from the scavengers and dangers of post-flood Britain. Despite the draw of Brighton, the last society around, they stick it out as a family – until a new arrival shatters their worldview. Rosemary’s world, her relationship with long-term finance Hector from Brighton who she’s only ever met online, her view of her family and her certainty in her future are all thrown into relief as they try to decipher the strange world around them.
The only other book I have read by Clare Morrall was just SO different to this!! It felt like an already established author taking a dip into the post-apocalyptic trend, but once I’ve got used to the idea, it definitely worked. It was more thoughtful and less action packed than other books I’ve read of the same premise, but all the more interesting for it. It was great!
One thing I really enjoyed was this book’s focus on family. I’ve not read loads of books like this; but by this family being completely isolated from real human contact (they are connected online and work online) the focus is on their relationships completely. The role of the parents, and Rosemary’s younger siblings, was completely essential; they related by each other and through each other. I thought it was extremely well portrayed and imagined family life; familiar though in a completely unfamiliar setting.
The setting was good. Never overemphasised; as we were following Rosemary’s point of view we never got a history chunk detailing exactly what happened; and everything was from their limited viewpoint. The family have built a fairly comfortable life for themselves, but it is clear that outside of that there is a lot more danger and suspicion – but you are never quite sure how much. In that lies the main tension of the novel, the not knowing.
I really enjoyed this treatment of this subject. There were definitely parts of me that wanted to know more details, but I mainly appreciated the slower pace of most of it, and the examination of family and family’s relationship with wider society. The end of the book was left fairly open, but it was probably appropriate for the book. We, like our main characters, are left unsure of what exactly is going on.
Also, just take a look at that cover! Beautiful. I’d recommend both this and After the Bombing by Morrall; though thinking about it there too she writes a war novel; another common trope. But she does it well!
Many thanks to Sceptre and Bookbridgr for the review copy, it’s a stunner but in no way affected my opinions.