Friday, January 22, 2021

Book Review: The Narrowboat Summer

By Cindy Roesel

Author, Anne Youngson continues to delight readers with stories about women’s friendships in her sophomore novel, THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER (Flatiron Books). It’s the story about three very different women who are brought together by what can only be called a serendipitous encounter. The thing that really tickled me about THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER was it’s about middle age women looking to begin the next chapter of their lives. Anastasia, Eve and Sally have already had careers and families and now it’s time to explore what they want to do, not what’s expected or has been traditionally done in the past.

Eve has just been fired from a job she’s had for many years and Sally has left a stale marriage she’s also had for many years. They are both walking along the towpath next to the river and hear a noise from one of the narrowboats.

“Was that human?”

After deliberating, they go on board to find a dog hollowing. Soon a woman named Anastasia arrives to find Sally and Eve on her boat and she’s not happy. But the three strike up a conversation about Noah, the dog and one thing leads to another. Anastasia needs to leave the boat for a medical treatment and at the same time, she needs someone to take the boat to a site which will take at least two months. Eve and Sally are intrigued, take ten days to think it over and soon they’re on a canal riverboat with absolutely no experience.

Life on the boat isn’t all fun and thrills. Eve and Sally settle into a routine, begin to know the canal community and eventually find themselves becoming different women. Their children come to visit, Sally’s husband, Duncan shows up thinking he can win her back, plus there are numerous quirky people who know the boat, Anastasia and Noah who pop in. There’s a lot to think about on a boat for a couple of months.

I love travel stories. The characters get to know themselves better and make changes to the way they’ve “always been.” The three women are so different and colorful, it’s not surprising for them to annoy or get prickly with the other. But there’s a lovely tenderness which comes through.

I didn’t know anything about the narrowboat community in England or about the history of living on canals. You can check out the book BARGING AROUND BRITAIN or the website to learn more. I think you’ll enjoy THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER.

Thanks to Flatiron for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Photo by Lisa Hill
Anne Youngson
worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. Meet Me at the Museum, her debut, was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award and has been published around the world.

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