Jojo Moyes has produced a superb piece of modern fiction in Silver Bay. Set mostly in Australia, with some action taking place in London, UK, the story deals with the effects of threatened development on the tranquil eponymous location of the title. But it is the relationships and interactions of the protagonists that drive this story of tragedy, romance, coming of age and redemption.
Presented in 3 parts, with a short prologue and epilogue, Jojo uses first person narration by five of the major characters, four female and one male, to explore emotional, motivational, mental and spiritual aspects of her protagonists. Her research has clearly been thorough and the novel displays the author’s deep knowledge of the subjects she uses for theme and background. The book starts slowly but builds relentlessly until the denouement is reached in a way unflagged and unexpected.
This was a book I would have read at one sitting, had I been able. As it is, my life being a little hectic at present, I was obliged to fit in reading between many other commitments. It’s testament to the quality of the writing and storytelling that I found myself looking forward to my occasional bus journeys, as they are opportunities to read. Normally I dislike this necessary part of my working day, but I was eager to get on that bus and have the chance to read. In fact, had I not finished the book shortly before the end of my journey, I suspect I’d have missed my stop.
Jojo has drawn her characters with skill, care, and love. This is appropriate, since the love stories that run through the narrative form a major thread of the tale. Each passage is in the voice of the chosen character and the author manages to make each unique and totally credible. She has managed to get as squarely inside the mind of her male characters as she has her females.
The main setting for the book, Silver Bay itself, performs the role of an additional character and the reader is immersed in the tranquil location to the extent that he feels all the anxiety, fear, resentment and disgust at proposals that will alter the place beyond recognition. Wales and dolphins, and the occasional shark, play interesting and informative roles along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this moving novel and have no hesitation in recommending it to readers of all types.