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Review of Dancing in the Shallows by Clare Reddaway

I devoured this book in a single sitting! Centred around Isla Wintergreen who suddenly moves to the Isle of Skye following the death of her grandfather, this short impactful book explores family dynamics, the importance of nature and the ways in which we try to find happiness in life. Isla’s move to the Isle of Skye sees her attempt to reconnect with life, searching for things that bring her joy and learning more about herself in the process.

The story is told from different family members spanning across four generations. Throughout the novel, similarities emerge between certain characters despite the decades between them. Reddaway writes with an intimacy which made me feel as if I was sitting at the kitchen table with each character, piecing together the overall story from each different perspective. It’s a warm, enticing read that had me thinking of authors such as Clare Chambers and Janice Hallett. Despite being a short novel it packs a punch; Reddaway explores difficult concepts such as young motherhood, marital abuse and female independence with impressive clarity and emotional insight.    

A highly recommended read!

Reviewed by Helen.

Dancing in the Shallows was published on 14/03/24 by Fairlight Moderns.

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