I feel a little guilty as I write up this not-a-review-at-all of Ferney by James Long as it is now over a month since I read the book and I am quite confident that the detail of my experience has escaped me. Perhaps I should start scribbling notes in books as I read them? I am going to cheat though and set the time-stamp for this post back to the start of November so that we can all pretend that I am organised and up to date with my posts...
I think I first heard about Ferney a while ago over at dovegreyreader's blog and was really pleased when I managed to pick up a copy of the book in a charity shop. It was out of print for a few years but seems to be making a well-deserved resurgence. Although the blurb is not very good at explaining what this book is actually about (and I don't envy whoever had the task of trying to do that!) I'll use it here to try to describe the book's plot.
"When Mike and Gally move to a new cottage in Somerset, it's to make a new start. But the relationship comes under strain when Gally forms an increasingly close attachment to an old countryman, Ferney, who seems to know everything about her. What is it that draws them together? Reluctantly at first, then with more urgency as he feels time slipping away, Ferney compels Gally to understand their connection - and to face an inexplicable truth about their shared past."
Seriously. I can't actually explain what this book is about without either ruining the plot or writing 1,000 words which will also end up ruining the plot! This very original novel is set in the real Somerset village of Penselwood, which I am desperate to visit now, and there is a charming love story at the centre of the book. The historical detail, centred around the village, felt very well researched and gave the book some real authenticity. I really must read up and see how accurate it was!
Apparently James Long is writing a sequel. I am not entirely sure how he is going to tackle that given the way the book ends but I look forward to finding out as this book is such a gem.