Starting Over by Jen Silver
A great first novel woven from romance, intrigue and humor, set in the north of England and full of English charm.
Ellie Winters has a peaceful life making pots on her remote farm near Huddersfield in Yorkshire. The only disturbance in her life is her former partner Robin - player, cheater and wanderer. Their business partnership has just about survived, but even the friendship is on tenterhooks, not because of Robin’s philandering but because Ellie dared to have a short fling, and Robin can’t cope.
When first Robin’s current squeeze, then a casual one-night stand, and finally Ellie’s ex-fling all descend on the farm at once the outcome is both complicated and farcical. Add in an archeological dig, soul-less paparazzi and relationships galore and the story soon becomes a page-turner it is hard to put down.
Jen Silver’s first novel is a delightful read. The characters are solid, rounded and complex, recognizable and easily liked. The settings are well drawn and subtly evocative of the Yorkshire towns and countryside. The plot is cleverly intricate without ever being over difficult, and the tension builds as the characters and emotions weave around each other.
Ms Silver has drawn a well-balanced and adroit mix of romance, intrigue and archeology, overlaid with the personal development of the characters and a side order of humor. The story builds from a circus gathering to a widely flung set of sub plots as the women flow in and out of the farm and on with their lives. But always the tale comes back to Ellie and Robin, the impact their various ex’s have on them personally, their relationship and on the farm.
The writing is compact, well edited, and crafted. I have to admit I didn’t expect the farce and was charmed by the humor. What started as a solid piece of writing soon descended into laugh out loud moments worthy of a classic British comedy. A great debut novel that leaves me eagerly awaiting her next publication – based on this introduction Jen Silver’s works will definitely be in my must-read pile.