by Liz Harris
This novel is a very interesting read. It opens with an intriguing scene which has a significance which will only become clear to the reader much later in the book. I liked this approach because it drew me through the book, wanting to know what had happened in order to bring about this outcome.
The structure of the novel, which is essentially a love story, is also quite unusual. It introduces the reader to the two main characters, Patricia and Kalden, in turn and follows them from childhood as they grow up and move towards their first meeting. This technique helps the reader to fully identify with both the main characters and makes the impact of their meeting and its attendant dilemmas even stronger.
What makes ‘The Road Back’ really stand out, though, is the geographical and historical setting. A lot of research has clearly gone into writing the book, but the detail is included in a way that feels natural and not forced. The reader gets to experience with Patricia her early life in a London scarred by the blitz, and a family bruised by war, and to see the country of Ladakh (a country north of the Himalayas) through Kalden’s eyes as he grows up there.
The strength of the love story and the richness of the detail of life in Ladakh, a country I knew nothing about before reading this book, carry the reader through this compelling tale. And, without giving too much away, the end of the story has a final unexpected twist which really delivers on the promise of the beginning.
All round, an extremely enjoyable and intelligent read.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt
With thanks to the publishers for providing a copy of this book.