The Long Walk Home

September 12th. 2009

Vickie, at Barron’s Books, handed me this novel one afternoon and asked if I’d read anything by author Will North. I hadn’t, but when I read the back I admitted I noticed the endorsements said lyrical writing, with  “comparison to Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller.” Truthfully, I’m not a Nicholas Sparks fan. His books drip syrup, for me.  But Jacquelyn Mitchard (Deep End of the Ocean, Still Summer) also endorsed this debut novel, and I like her work. So, I’m a daring sort of reade and I bought the book, stuck it in under the front seat of my car (a usual location for novels as I often need to read something while I wait in carpool lanes) and promptly forget about it. But, two months later, I’m stuck in line waiting for Laura’s ballet class to let out, and remember that I have something to read. So dusting corroded french fries off the cover, I dive into chapter one. Chapter one was a little slow and narrative for my tastes, but I definitely liked the mysterious stranger that showed up at the end.  (I’m a sucker for mysterious strangers.) Once I got into the story (and into the rhythm of the bouncing point-of-views), I was hooked. Turns out Will North is a bit more dry than Nicholas Spark (thankfully) and his descriptions can be melodic, but his male character is still quite sensitive. The American man walks across England to scatter his late ex-wife’s ashes on a mountain she once climbed. Though described in the most masculine of terms, he cooks, wonderfully it turns out. Honestly even I learned a bit about cooking and tea service from this novel. Still everyone falls into place soon enough and the story moves along to its desired, and predictable, end. All in all, a lovely jaunt through the emotions and turmoils of strangers and family living in the mountainside and a sea village in Wales. It’s the kind of book perfect for a curl up on the sofa on a rainy day and steaming cup of Lady Grey tea.