Voices From The Sea by Evelyn Hood
Evelyn Hood is a prolific and well respected Scottish author. I had known her for several years before I read any of her books. That was my loss. She is a gifted story teller. Evelyn was formerly a journalist and is the author of more than 40 published novels. She is best known for family sagas, set mainly in her hometown of Paisley,Renfrewshire, Scotland and on the coast of the River Clyde. She has also published six one act stage plays, a Scottish pantomime, a children’s musical, and a growing number of short stories and articles. Titles of her novels include her Prior’s Ford series A Certain Freedom and A Sparkle of Salt. I purchased the novel entitled Voices from the Sea after I heard her speak at the Tidelines Festival in 2014.
Voices from the Sea is the story of Eppie Watt is left a widow after her husband dies in a fishing boat accident in the North Sea. Eppie has a young child to bring up so she has no choice but to send her daughter to live with her parents and earn a living as a lowly fish packer and seller to make ends meet. She is offered a chance for a better life when the housekeeper to a local wealthy widower, Alexander Geddes, decides to retire, and recommends Eppie for the job.
His mother is a difficult woman. She entered Alexander’s house when his second wife died in childbirth and liked to think she ruled it. Alexander eventually gives his mother her marching orders: this leaves Eppie and Alexander in the house alone together, causing a lot of gossip. To stop the rumours getting out of hand Alexander asks her to marry him but Eppie refuses. Then, Alexander decides on a compromise and brings Eppie’s own daughter to live with them and employs her sister, Marion, as the girls’ governess, thus taking out any suggestion of him having dishonourable intentions.
Alexander’s estranged son returns to Portsoy, bringing with him an old adversary of Alexander’s who has a very mysterious past for a short time. Eppie develops a distinctive banter with the stranger and their relationship develops. Also, a relationship slowly builds between Alexander and Marion, and they wed. Eppie has to leave her job as house keeper to look after her friends children when they see her kill herself. That mysterious stranger will no doubt be important in her future, but the book ends before it is evident.
Voices from the Sea is another triumph by Evelyn Hood. If you enjoy historical fiction, flawlessly researched, I recommend this novel to you.