This is a debut novel by an Ulster woman, who has captured the characters and their surroundings perfectly. The bachelor farmer Jamie, living in a house that has not been cleaned nor tidied for many years; a man prescribed Valium by his doctor for the depression; a man with friends but no real company. And Lydia, the spinster schoolteacher, similar age, who advertises for a man in the lonely hearts pages of the local newspaper only because yet another schoolfriend is getting married and she just cannot face taking her mother and being asked again "when is it your turn, Lydia?" Most of us look for love in many places, we know there are different kinds of love, we don't want to make a fool of ourselves so perhaps we miss a chance, and Jamie and Lydia are two ordinary people like that.
I loved this book. Loved it. In parts, it made me laugh out loud for there are some fantastic lines in there, for example the description of a lazy woman as the type that would keep a shovelful of dung on the table to keep the flies off the butter.
And it also made me cry. I think we all know now about those places in Ireland (the last of which only closed in 1996) run by those who should have known better (I mean how could you profess to love God and follow his rules when you will beat a small child because his mother bore him out of wedlock and then gave him up into the care of the church??).
So this lovely story of two people seeking love has that dark storyline intertwined, but that does not make either thing less because of it. And it just has the most superb and perhaps unexpected ending, when I was laughing and crying both at the same time.
Recommended. Get a copy, read it - I just don't believe you will not enjoy it.