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John looked furious—with me or with himself, I couldn’t tell.
‘I’m going to put some dry clothes on,’ I said. ‘Then I will come down and cook your dinner. And then, John, I am going to swim the Channel.’
‘What’s so bloody important about swimming the Channel?’ he shouted.
The sea has always been Martha’s escape—first from the sadness and strife of her childhood home, then from the drudgery of life as a wife and mother—but she can never quite escape the pull of love and family, despite her desire for freedom.
Her husband, John, struggles to understand her; their son lives in faraway Australia; and they haven’t spoken to their daughter for years—not since she came home for Christmas and announced that she was in love with a woman. When John’s mind begins to unravel, Martha must care for him alone. She wonders how she’ll ever keep her head above water—and if she has it in her to swim the Channel just one more time.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Shakespeare’s Bay and the white cliffs of Dover, The Last Wave is a story spanning three generations, from the 1940s to the present day, and encompassing all the grief and joy of family life.
‘Those who liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy Gillian Best’s The Last Wave for its quiet, intense examination of a woman fleeing British familial agony for the sea’s thrilling embrace.’
‘The characters in The Last Wave are layered, imperfect and real. Each is trapped by the confines of family life and yet by realizing enormous, seemingly impossible dreams, they ultimately set themselves free. It’s a brilliant illustration of how family relationships change and adapt in different stages of our lives — in childhood and parenthood, and through illness, failure, and success. Scenic and true-to-life, The Last Wave will inspire readers right up to the last page.’
‘Gillian Best makes a literary splash with her debut novel, The Last Wave…Her entirely convincing portrayal of the Roberts family and their many undercurrents show that she’s just beginning her journey as a fiction writer.’
‘Best’s descriptive abilities are acute…A moving, impassioned book by a very talented, insightful writer.’