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.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
Set on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s The Night of the Flood is an atmospheric and at times claustrophobic historical story. Centred around a historic natural disaster, the author interweaves a believable fiction of complex emotional relationships and secrets.
It focuses on the five young adults all inexorably changed by WW2 and railing against their allotted roles in life. Peter, shackled to the failing family farm. Verity, an ambitious woman who wants more from life than marriage and domesticity. Arthur, a former evacuee who has journalistic ambitions he may never realise. Muriel is a less distinct character known to all whose role increases with the story’s progression. Finally, there is Jack, an American stationed at the local airbase, who is the catalyst that forever alters the young lives.
The story is sad and suspenseful, the protagonists’victims of society’s expectations and individual flaws. The coastal historical setting reinforces the story’s authenticity. Relatable characters engage the reader’s emotions in this insightful story.
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 1950s.