Friday, 20 June 2014

Love and Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds

review by Maryom

Tessa is the driving force behind a struggling environmental charity Easy Green, she's a firm believer in everything eco-friendly and planet saving, with no interest beyond the practical and ethical in her clothing. So she's not best pleased to find herself set-up for a TV makeover show - and even less pleased to discover not only her best friend but her husband too were behind it all! Do they not know her at all? Is her husband really that unhappy with how she looks now? Persuaded that it will give some TV airtime to her ailing charity, Tessa reluctantly agrees to take part but the TV producers are more interested in her Greenham Common past. Tessa finds herself drawn back to memories of the life-changing months spent camping outside the US base at Greenham, a time that she'd almost forgotten but that made her the person she is today.

There are two almost unrelated threads to Love and Fallout - Tessa's experiences at Greenham Common in the autumn and winter of 1982, and her present day crises of failing business, failing marriage and failing communication with her almost grown-up children. The two threads weave in and around each other but, to be honest, I found the 'Greenham' story by far the more interesting. Recently dumped by the boy she'd envisaged sharing her life with, bored and frustrated by her meaningless job, a young, politically naive woman runs away to join the Greenham protesters. Living in a make-shift camp as the weather deteriorates, with regular run-ins with police, she quickly matures both emotionally and politically. It would have made an excellent novella on its own and the present day story-line by contrast felt a little lacking. Together they make an enjoyable read but one half outshines the other.
It hadn't occurred to me till I read this novel that the early 80s anti-nuclear peace protests have fallen into that gap of no longer current affairs but not quite old enough to be seen as history - and therefore largely forgotten. This novel gives an intriguing insight into the many reasons that woman joined in there, the hardships and prejudice they faced, and the support and comradeship they found.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher -
Seren Books
Genre -
adult fiction, historical

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