Saturday 2 June 2018

Two Steps Forward // book review

I don't really have that much time for reading lately, but sometimes I'll be on the train on my own or sitting in the garden soaking up some spring sunshine, and that's when I try and get a few chapters in. My most recent read was Two Steps Forward* by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist who are married (to each other) and live in Australia. I've read two of Graeme's books before, the two Rosie books which I loved so very much, and when this came through my letterbox accompanied by a little bottle of rosé wine and some chocolate during a Very Bad Week, it felt a bit like fate. Anyway, enough rambling - here's what I thought of the book.

Loosely, Two Steps Forward is about two people called Zoe and Martin - she's just lost her husband, and he's just been through a messy divorce - who decide to walk the Camino de Santiago which is a very real and by all accounts very beautiful pilgrimage route which begins in France and ends in Spain. The book, which is written in first-person POV from both Zoe and Martin, follows their journey from start to finish and details everything along the way.

Beautifully written, the book describes the scenic nature of the walk as well as the tiny towns that Zoe, Martin and their ever-increasing gang of walking pals stop off at on their travels; there are so many characters in the book that it does get a little bit confusing at times, but equally it's interesting to see the Camino through the eyes of so many different people, all with different reasons for walking it. The book offers a little bit of history, too, which is fascinating - but mostly it's about Zoe and Martin and their clumsy attempt at a romance that has more ups and downs than all the rollercoasters in Alton Towers put together. Probably enough to give you some mild motion sickness or maybe a little bit of whiplash.

Ultimately though, it is a lovely book and I enjoyed reading it - I liked the two different perspectives, and I loved learning about Camino traditions such as the scallop shells that line the route. I liked that Martin had a blog, and that Zoe drew cartoons for everybody, and I liked that there was always something getting in the way of their love (stubbornness, family emergencies, injury...) but they sort of made it work anyway. That was nice. It's a nice book and I think we all need to read one of those sometimes, and it's definitely a summer read I'd recommend!

Have you read Two Steps Forward yet? It's out in paperback now so if not, definitely keep an eye out for it in your local book shop when you're planning your summer reading list. Massive thanks to the lovely gang at Hodder for sending this my way, too. Dreamboats.

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