Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Book Review: A Year and a day by Isabelle Broom
“ A Year and a Day” is really a love letter to the wonderful city of Prague. It is a character in its own right within this narrative and acts as a counter point to the emotional turmoil being played out beneath its turrets and upon the frosted cobbles. The traditional setting is wonderful against some very contemporary facets of love
This is a perfect story for the wintertime, you can almost taste the rich meaty goodness of the goulash and smell the spiced sweet scent of the mulled wines, ciders and deep creamy hot chocolate. In fact as a reader in the week approaching Christmas, this was a near perfect choice.
There is a surprisingly deep current of melancholy pervading the stories of each of the main six characters here, three couples all at differing points in their relationships, bound together by shared hotel accommodation and chance encounters which lead them almost unwillingly to become spectators into the hidden depths of their fellow travellers complex feelings, turmoil and loves.
Each person is approaching their trip as a chance for change or renewal, hoping that magic will mend what is fractured. All are stymied by fear of some sort, all are hiding hurts and disappointments that they all seek to bury in the romance of the magical city. This is not a cosy romance, but it is all the better for the jagged edges of the emotions played out.
These are all good people with the most sincere of intentions, but to some degree all in denial. You warm to them all the more because of their frailties and so are more emotionally invested in their travails. My personal favourite is Ollie, the best friend who aches for more, but I liked all the characters and whilst I had realised pretty early on the curveball we would be presented with, as with any great story, the journey is as important as the destination.
There is a particular magic in the way Ms Bloom evokes the atmosphere of Prague in the winter and I sense that the Czech Republic will be boosted in their tourism trade as this book hits the public consciousness, forget the trite tales of Parisian lovers , now comes the grittier, earthier story ,set in gothic splendour and olde world charm with a bite as strong as the frigid wind in the Wenceslas Square.
This is a treat of a book, so settle down with the spiced hot beverage of your choices and enjoy. Many Thanks to the great folks at Netgalley and to author Isabelle Broom for the chance to read this story, a solid Five star experience.