Shelf Control is a weekly celebration hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies, of the unread books on our shelves. Lisa says: “Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.”
Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!
This is now my third time doing this, and I’m thinking it might become habit forming!
Walking up to my shelves and looking straight in the middle, I found this book. Surprise! I can’t believe I’ve had this unread book on my shelf for maybe 20 years. I believe we bought this book in the early 2000s, because I know I had already read and enjoyed Harris’ novels, “Chocolat,” “Blackberry Wine,” and “Five Quarters of the Orange.” However, I cannot recall why I didn’t read this one. I am not even sure if my husband read it, because my copy looks mostly untouched. Obviously, I always had the intention of reading it, but I guess I got caught up in other books by other authors. Strangely enough, this one stayed on my shelf unread while I passed it by to read a collection of her short stories (Jigs & Reels, which I didn’t review here). Now it could be that because I wasn’t enthralled with her short stories (the long form is her niche), that I might have put me off this book. However, I later got her “Gentlemen & Players” and dug right into that one (and loved it, along with her other three Malbry novels – “A Different Class,” “A Narrow Door,” and “Blueeyedboy“).
Now, I already know how much I like how Harris writes, and but I don’t know much about this particular book. The blurb for this on Goodreads is as follows:
Set on a small, blustery fishing island off the coast of France, Coastliners is the story of Mado, a young woman who returns to her childhood home to find the local community torn apart by family feuds, bad tides and murky political machinations. Passionate, stubborn Mado tries to save the livelihoods of the villagers of Les Salants by urging them to work together to save the beach from erosion, both natural and man-made. The villagers eventually cooperate with the help of Flynn, a charismatic stranger with a shady past. Then there’s her father, taciturn Grosjean, as “prickly and tightly layered as an artichoke”, and local, wealthy businessman Brismand who also seems to be hiding something. Mado must unravel these mysteries, while attempting to keep a hold on her own sense of self in this claustrophobic, close community.
Well, that sounds intriguing. It sounds like it could be either contemporary or historical fiction, but that’s still unclear. So… Let’s take a look at the opening paragraph of the opening chapter.
I returned after ten years’ absence, on a hot day in late August, on the eve of summer’s first bad tides. As I stood watching the approach from the deck of Brismand 1, the old ferry to La Houssinière, it was almost as though I had never left. Nothing had changed — the sharp smell of the air, the deck beneath my feet, the sound of the gulls in the hot blue sky. Ten years, almost half my life, erased at a single stroke, like writing in the sand. Or almost.
Well, that doesn’t give me a clue about the era where this book takes place. However, the blurb at the back of my copy gives me a bit more information.
On the tiny Breton island of Le Devin, life has remained almost unchanged for a hundred years. For generations, two rival communities, the wealthy La Houssiniere and the impoverished village of Les Salants, have fought for control of the island’s only beach.
When Mado, a spirited local girl, returns to Les Salants after a ten-year absence, she finds her home threatened, both by the tides and the machinations of a local entrepreneur. Worse, the community is suffering from an incurable loss of hope.
Mado is not so easily discouraged. Dogged by prejudice from the superstitious villagers, she is forced to enlist the help of Flynn, an attractive drifter. But Mado’s attempts to transform the dying community have unforseen consequences. As Les Salants returns slowly to life, so do past tragedies, including the terrible secret that still haunts Mado’s father. And is Flynn really who he says he is?
Okay so… shades of “Chocolat” here with a handsome drifter, but I’m still not sure if this is contemporary or historical (not that this matters). I’m thinking more contemporary with both the environmental aspect combined with that entrepreneur. However, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything magical in this book which makes it straight literary fiction, which I prefer. Finally, it is a stand alone novel, which means if I do read it, I’m not committing to a whole series, which for me is a good thing. So…
My verdict is…
I’ll keep this one on my TBR list!
From what I’ve put here, would you read it? Have you read it? If so, would you recommend it?
You can buy this book (affiliate links) from: Amazon, Bookshop.org, UK.Bookshop, iTunes (iBook and iAudiobook), Indiebound, Alibris, Kobo (eBooks and audiobooks), Better World Books, Booksamillion, eBooks.com, Foyles, The Book Depository UK, The Book Depository US, Waterstones, WHSmith, Wordery UK, and Wordery US.
Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:
- Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
- Add your link in the comments to Lisa’s latest post, or link back from your own post, so Lisa can add you to the participant list.
- Check out other posts, and…