In The Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton

In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath  Barton

In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A sweet novella that tells the story of a family, with a marriage at the heart of it. It is a marriage depicted with all the pragmatism of day-to-day living that strips it bare of romanticism, leaving something at the core. The difficulty and joy for the reader is figuring out what holds this husband and wife together as the years pass by. Duty, responsibility and silence are all explored, the impact that each has on the relationship, and it is in the silence that we learn much about hope, pain, resentment and endurance. Rene’s silence is almost visceral. It stays with you, and you can sense the harm that it does to her: to her happiness, her marriage and, in turn, what this does to her husband and daughters.

The brevity of the novel is such that you get a vivid sense of time passing – how the decades can sweep by you in moments, yet at the same time, a moment can stay with you forever, hold on to you, and hold you back.

The novel is told from a number of differing points of view, each one signposted by the author so that the reader has something to hold on to, as we get to know each of the characters that we come across in the book. The setting was also evoked to great effect. The red coat in the window stays with you, which makes it all the more devastating when you discover who ends up wearing it.

In the midst of a national lockdown, this book was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, curled up on the sofa, coffee in hand, losing myself in the sweep of the bay.



View all my reviews

Published by Deborah Siddoway

Dickens enthusiast, book lover, wine drinker, writer, lover of all things Victorian, and happily divorced mother of two lovely (and very tall) boys.

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