**We were gifted an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
The latter half of 2020 seems to have a deluge of exciting new releases and today I’m excited to be on the blog tour for one of these! The Night Of The Flood is Zoe Somerville’s debut novel set against the historical backdrop of the North Sea flood which occurred in her home county. Many thanks to Head Of Zeus for having me on this tour and gifting me a ARC e-copy of this title.
About The Book
Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.
Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.
Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.
Verity has ambitions beyond her small town life in Norfolk; she wants to study at university, but her Father has other ideas. With her Mother’s tragic and somewhat suspicious death still fresh and raw her Father’s drinking has spiralled out of control, leaving the fate of the families failing farm in the hands of her brother Peter. However, Verity’s Father believes marrying her off to a rich local is the answer to all their financial woes, but she will do anything to avoid it.
Peter has the weight of the world on his shoulders, the grief of his Mother’s untimely death, the dire financial situation of his family farm and the constant battles with his Father. He is in a rut that he can’t see a way out of, trying to keep everything afloat, but he has a secret, one which cannot be revealed for fear of the past repeating itself.
Arthur has recently returned from National Service, but longs for much more than working in his Mother’s shop and living in the cramped flat above. He dreams of running away with Verity and solidifying their romance, forging a career and building a life for them before they are consumed by the town by the sea, just as Verity’s Mother was. But, his dreams are thwarted by the smooth talking, slick American Pilot Jack who seems to appear out of thin air and Arthur knows he is hiding something he just has to figure out what…
The Night Of The Flood is one of those books that I found extremely difficult to summarise in a few short paragraphs due it’s complex web of family and romantic relationships. It’s also hard to fit this story into a single genre as it offers a little of everything; romance, historical fiction, mystery and thriller within it’s pages.
Set on the precipice of the Cold War The Night Of The Flood is a character driven, atmospheric glimpse into the lives of the a handful of young adults living in a small seaside town in Norfolk. From the get-go Somerville’s descriptive writing style paints a dark tension filled story, drip feeding information from the character’s past and present to eventually come together to complete the full picture at it’s dramatic conclusion.
The character’s are well-written, fully rounded and humanly flawed making them not only intriguing, but enthralling to read. The battles they all endure with themselves between their expectations and dreams is something I’m sure many readers will be able to relate to. There are multiple love triangles within this story which kept me hanging on and wondering what the outcome would ultimately be, it added an extra dimension to the usual love triangle ‘romance’ story. It was also nice to have the inclusion of a queer character and to see how different being gay was perceived back in the 1950’s.
I really enjoyed reading and learning more about this period of history, one which I’ll admit I was completely clueless about previously. The devastation of the North Sea flood was far reaching and whilst the focus of this story was on the relationships of it’s characters the information about the actual flood did compel me to do my own research into the event afterwards.
This is a dark tension filled book about love, obsession, secrets and lies with a real-life historical twist that is certain to keep you guessing. It’s quite a slow paced story, but this allows the ominous atmosphere to build gradually, which gave me some really creepy vibes – great for the Autumn when creepy books are everything! The strength of this book for me though is most certainly the character’s who are written perfectly, each with their own distinct identity.
If this book takes your fancy please be aware there are some trigger warnings : drowning, violence, voyeurism, death, animal death.
About The Author
Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950’s.
The Night Of The Flood is available to purchase now from Amazon*