Henry Layte, from The Book Hive in Norwich, said: "It's set in Devon in a tiny little village, about a girl becoming a woman,leaving her childhood years in the midst of this sweltering hot summer. It's a most glorious, beautiful piece of writing and it is about that emotional connection between people."
Pears' easygoing pace actually soothes away the urge for momentum. The scattered focus which at first seemed detrimental also grows into a strength. The novel's persistent digressions into diverse incidents in multiple lives adds up to a panorama of the ages (childhood, adolescence, middle and old age) and spans the century with its use of memories.
Pears' only partial immersion within Alison's perspective creates hitches when she exhibits unlikely omniscience as narrator of her older brothers' love lives, her mother's inner thoughts, and the quintessentially private intimacy between her grandparents. The writing is occasionally repetitive - a case of authorial amnesia? - and descriptions of sunsets and rustic scenes can nosedive into cliches. But Pears dexterously steers just clear of sentimentality in this unusually strong debut