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"When Helen travels from Italy to England to visit a long lost friend, a run of the mill getaway and reunion gets an uncanny vintage twist."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Available in paperback on Amazon.

When Helen moved away from Suffolk, she lost touch with Claire. Many years later, now a widow and living in Verona, Helen receives a phone-call out of the blue that grants an opportunity to reconnect with her old friend, and revisit her old hometown. However on arriving Claire reveals she’s joined a small “past-lifestyle” community, living on an old air base as though it were the 1940s. Confused and intrigued, Helen is keen to learn more about the lifestyle here, and delve into her bad feelings about the project leader, Strachan.

There's a lot of plotline to pack into the book, but the author does so without making the story feel rushed at any point. The once close bond between Helen and Claire is replaced, now that their lifestyles and beliefs aren’t as closely aligned, the forthright women clash. I liked the way the characters are portrayed, the awkwardness in Helen and Claire’s adjustment to each other, a shadow of the closeness portrayed early in the book. Helen’s investigations into Rylands’ leader Strachan reveals his systematic abuse of the young women and teenagers on the base. Helen’s earnest pleas and well-intentioned private investigations into such a complex and delicate subject are all well-meant, and the community’s reaction to Helen holds a stark and sinister echo of cult-like behaviour, and a dark reminder of how those with power are able to abuse it. I liked the development of Helen’s relationship with Joe, a storyline that offers light relief amongst the darker themes.

‘Rylands’ by Marianne Price is an intriguing story and an inventive concept. For those who like contemporary fiction with a twist of thriller, this is an easy and quick read.

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