“Lovely...Another heartening story about the possibility of striking out in a new direction at any age. It is also a soothing read, especially welcome in these anxious times.” —Christian Science Monitor
From the author of Meet Me at the Museum, a charming novel of second chances, about three women, one dog, and the narrowboat that brings them together
Eve expected Sally to come festooned with suitcases and overnight bags packed with everything she owned, but she was wrong. She arrived on foot, with a rucksack and a carrier bag. “I just walked away,” she said, climbing on to the boat. Eve knew what she meant.
Meet Eve, who has left her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia, a defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, who is suddenly landlocked and vulnerable.
Before they quite know what they’ve done, Sally and Eve agree to drive Anastasia’s narrowboat on a journey through the canals of England, as she awaits a life-saving operation. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of narrowboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds. At summer’s end, all three women must decide whether to return to the lives they left behind, or forge a new path forward.
Candid, hilarious, and uplifting, Anne Youngson's The Narrowboat Summer is a celebration of the power of friendship and new experiences to change one’s life, at any age.
Youngson (Meet Me at the Museum) tosses together two middle-aged women on the precipice of change in this pleasing buddy tale. Ailing but hardened Anastasia, who lives on an English canal narrowboat, meets Sally Allsop and Eve Warburton when the two strangers break onto her boat after thinking Anastasia's barking dog is in trouble. Quickly feeling trust for the women, Anastasia asks them to take up the duties of her vessel while she gets medical treatment for a mysterious illness. With just a few navigating tips and some gruff advice, recently fired Eve and recently separated Sally travel off down the canals of England, eagerly leaving their former lives behind. Youngson moves the wispy plot which largely concerns the novice crew's mishaps and encounters with colorful locals along at a slow pace, frequently drawing parallels to nautical life: "How was it that, when they could plan all this and carry it out, she seemed incapable of following the routes they had chosen on a perfectly reproduced, accurate, annotated, scaled map."Oddball characters, such as Billy the singing historian and Arthur the vagabond accountant, buoy the pleasant narrative. Youngson's meditative story satisfies with its take on the joys of new friendship and the happiness that can be found in the mundane.