Short listed for Orange Prize 2010, Short listed for Amazon’s Rising Stars award 2009, Long listed for the RNA Romantic novel of the year 2010, Long listed for the Le Prince Maurice Prize for Literary Love Stories 2010
The Very Thought of You is set during WWII and follows eight-year-old Anna as she is evacuated to a large country house in Yorkshire. The house belongs to a childless couple, Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, who decided to covert their home into a school in the hope that children will bring some happiness back into their lives. Unfortunately the children only seem to exacerbate their problems and their marriage falls apart.
The theme of the book appears to be loving someone that you can’t have. All the characters seem to be in love with someone that they cannot be with; whether that is due to being separated by war or yearning to be with someone already in a relationship.
The Very Thought of You was very readable and I finished it quite quickly, but it left no lasting impression on me. There were too many characters and so each one failed to develop its own identity, all seeming to have the same voice.
The book also lacked atmosphere – I couldn’t picture the places mentioned or feel the emotions each character experienced.
Overall I’d describe it as a light romance book, similar in style to The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson. I have no idea why it was short listed for the Orange prize.
Opinions seem to be divided on this one:
…it is intelligently written with an eye for detail… The Truth About Lies
It is the narratorial voice that kills it stone-dead for me. Eve’s Alexandria
This is an impressive book, particularly as a debut novel. Pursewarden