Each chapter begins and ends with a lovely quotation. It is written in the style of a diary but could also very well be love letters to a lifelong lover.
Is it a diary or are the entries love letters to a first lover, the one with such an impact on her that she just cannot forget him? Who is the 55-year old writer and what are her secrets, apart from the lover who conquered her heart thirty years ago? He went back to the States to marry and have children, she stayed in London and also got married – had her two children at about the same time as her lover did. Over the years they stayed in touch, even though they scarcely met.
“You, my dear friend, are one of the very few to have crossed over between these two lives”: the first being the woman’s single life, up to the death of her father, the second her married life she is still living. Who is he? He is a man who loves the sea, who would die if he had to spend his life in the city, in London. His life is in America, on the Malibu beaches where he practices his favourite hobby: surfing. They first met in a London restaurant, where they were both working. When she changed shifts, she came to work with him and their lives would never be the same. Now, in Oct. 2014, a month after meeting up in her city London for the first time in 20 years, she feels the time has finally come to act upon her thirty-year-old intention and write down the story of their unique love.
It turns out that this woman’s musings are much more than a love story: it’s her life she summons up in the entries: her feelings, her insecurity, her love for receiving post, her fear of using Skype but, after some persuasion by her American lover, finally giving in and loving it. She paints us a picture of the friendships in her life, with the American lover and with Alex, her best friend, who according to the woman’s own words “knows me better than I know myself.” Whether Alex is male or female is not disclosed, we do know how Alex and the woman started out as “only fifteen-year-old best friends can be.” They connect on many levels, Alex is her confidant(e), the one she can talk with about her American lover, the one who knew her American lover, a witness to their relationship.
It’s an intriguing story of love we’re privileged to read – about a woman who reminisces on her life but most of all on the love and strong connection she feels with her first lover. They only met a few times after their initial encounter back in 1984, but they stayed in touch through letters, emails, and eventually Skype, WhatsApp and phone calls. The woman has a solid marriage, her husband is aware of the American lover, but not to the extent it goes. He only knows what she is willing to share with him, nothing more. Now she writes it down, she is reliving the years, the candlelight dinners, the choices they both made. Did he marry out of love or obligation? And why did they not marry? He would be unhappy living in London, does the same apply for her to living outside of it?
Each chapter starts and ends with an appropriate quotation about the events and feelings in that chapter. It is lovely to read the wonderful quotations – some are like old friends, some are new to me. It is not a story with a plot, that you have to unravel to find out what happened and what lies behind. Although the woman tells us she’s writing to her lover, to capture their connection in words, it’s a story of her life, the choices she made, the decisions she regrets or can live with. It is complicated to the point, that the narrative frequently becomes repetitive as if she wants to convince herself of her feelings, the sincerity and strength of her emotions.
It’s a lovely book, you cannot put it aside easily. It draws you in as you want to read more, want to know what happened, why they parted, but also why they kept in touch. She didn’t like Skype at first, but why if it was a way of them both ‘to meet’, to see each other even if there’s an ocean between them. Furthermore, we are left in the dark to Alex’s gender, the Alex who is important to the woman’s life, but who stays a stranger to the reader throughout the book. This book is about the woman and her feelings to such an extent that even the reader is not told the whole story, but only what the woman is willing to share with us.
About the Author
Lynda Young Spiro is a British author, who is living in Hampstead, London, the place she was born. Apart from being an examinations invigilator, her hobbies vary from needlepoint, painting and sculpturing to belly, tap and jazz dancing, visiting art galleries and museums. Her first book is ‘Latch Hooking Rugs‘, a non-fiction book. She started writing down thoughts, musings and contemplations until a friend (like the woman’s Alex in her novel) suggested Lynda turn these ‘snippets’ into a novel. According to Lynda’s own words she “literally wove a story around thoughts” with the lovely and touching ‘There is Always More to Say’ as the result.
|Publisher||New Generation Publishing (18 April 2016)|