The Water Is Wide by Liz Gilbey.

Hardcover, published Robert Hale (London) 2010.
I can only say that this is an excellent example of a book that while ostensibly a romance, has all the ingredients that grab someone like me who isn’t that fixated on romance books. The background of a canal and canal boats is authoratative. The characters are real people and the dialogue is normal, unlike the characters and dialogue of too many other romance writers, (some dialogue I have read is so Edwardian as to be utterly unbelievable, no guy I’ve ever met speaks like that.) And the plot is solid, believable and pleasingly straightforward. I was hauled in to the story and background at once and read the book at a sitting.
Michaela Webster (Mikki) has resigned from her job as an art teacher, and resigned too from her engagement. Now leaving London on her canal boat she is going to stay with family at the Bleakhall Canal in the Midlands while she decides where she goes from here. Where she goes seems, as the story progresses, to be in a number of directions at once as she accepts a job painting a canal boat for an old friend, work that may lead to better things, working as a waitress at the local tavern for extra cash, and keeping an eye on her unruly teenage neice. There was nothing impossible or even unlikely in the plot,. this is a well-written book that reads from chapter to chapter in quiet progression and I loved it. It’s gone into the ‘permanent’ section on my bookshelves, and I hope the author writes more like this soon.

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