In search of a country idyll, London couple Steve and Helen Anderson relocate to an isolated old house, near to the river Lod. Both are strangely drawn to the water, though stories circulate about the river's dangerously weak banks and powerful undertow. Stranger still is Helen's attraction to the forbidding village squire and local Casanova, Matthew Summers. Events come to a head when Helen almost drowns in the river, but it is Steve who needs to watch his back....
Praised by critics for his clean prose style, characterisation and the strong sense of place in his novels, Philip Maitland Hubbard was born in Reading, Berkshire and brought up in the Channel Islands. He was educated at Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for English verse in 1933. From 1934 until its disbandment in 1947 he served with the Indian Civil service, then for the British Council, before retiring to work as a freelance writer. He contributed to a number of publications, including Punch, and wrote 16 novels for adults and two children's books. He lived in Dorset and Scotland, and many of his novels draw on his interest in and knowledge of rural pursuits and folk religion.
"A most imaginative and distinguished practitioner... with an assurance and individuality of style and tone." (The Times)
"If any man had the art of button-holing, making you read on, it is P. M. Hubbard... suspense could hardly be better sustained." (Tatler)
"Hubbard succeeds in investing everyday circumstances and the commonplace functions and rituals of daily living with a shapelessly menacing quality." (Anthony Quinton, Times Literary Supplement)
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Not what I expected; none the worse for that!
Not having read the novel, this question is difficult to answer. The book is a good one; the reading is excellent.
None stood out; they were all human and well drawn and, ultimately, sad. Perhaps the river is the star.
I enjoyed her narration; she was engaging and read with great clarity. I sensed enjoyment in the reading, which is not always the case.
In the last resort, this is a sad novel. It is not depressing, just sad.
I would read another by this author; I would look forward to hearing Ms Jameson read another book that took my fancy.