Underwater Breathing by Cassandra Parkin

Review published on May 11, 2018.

Oh, Cassandra Parkin, you’ve done it to me again. Only this time you’ve really done it! I am wrecked after reading this book! Which is as good a way of putting it as any, given the theme. Sort of. In a nutshell, the book is about love. About the fragile, crumbling, tempestuous madness of love. In one long, glorious metaphor using the sea and its relentless power Cassandra Parkin has constructed a fiction of chilling beauty.

If a missing child was at the heart of The Winter’s Child then missing persons are at the heart of this gripping new novel. Not necessarily physically missing though. An onion story where layers are peeled off to reveal the truths that hide within these delicate hearts. Such tenderness nestling against such sharpness, the juxtaposition of the two states twirls your emotions around.

There are few characters in the book but without exception they are superbly drawn. Once again Ms. Parkin has demonstrated that ability which allows you to feel what her characters are feeling. Although the story seems to be Jacob and Ella’s story there is another marvellous character in Mrs. Armitage. Fascinating in her complexity and such a wonderful example of how love can wear many faces, she is a support that keeps the whole story together and offers both the other characters and readers too a refuge against the storms of life that batter the people in this story.

Impressive, too, are the vivid descriptions of the sea and the land and the battle between them. I often wonder what this poor writer has put herself thought to be able to describe these scenes and situations with such clarity and authenticity. In fact, the sea is there as as one of the main characters possibly the ‘baddie’ of the book.

There are writers and there are storytellers and sometimes you’re lucky enough to get them both within one author and I think it fair to say that of Cassandra Parkin. This is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Gill Chedgey 5/5

Underwater Breathing by Cassandra Parkin
Legend Press 9781787198401 pbk May 2018

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