North of Here by Laurel Saville
This is quite simply the best book I have read in ages. I kept making excuses to slip away to quiet corners so I could read it undisturbed and went up to bed early to enjoy an extra furtive chapter.
This is literary fiction at its absolute best. Firstly, a story that is rivetingly interesting, vividly plausible, absorbing and as addictive as pistachios. (Well, did you ever eat just one pistachio?) Not that it is thrills-and-spills or edge-of-your-seat - it is neither of these things - but it just gets you. It seeps into your marrow until you realise that you have crossed the Rubicon and got yourself lost - that most rare and yet most pleasurable of reading experiences. This is because of its second great peak of achievement - fantastically well-drawn characters. Miranda, Dix, Sally and Darius are as finely polished and multi-faceted as diamonds, lustrous but also deeply flawed. They make your blood boil. They make your heart break. Thirdly, the language is just wonderful, evocative, at times painterly, at times orchestral, engaging all your senses. It simply soars.
I am so sorry to discover that this talented writer doesn’t have a back catalogue of some twenty novels for me to enjoy.
The closest book I can compare it to is A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale, also excellent.