A Seagull Summer by Jane Lovering
Summer by the sea – a time to spread your wings, right?
Leah has come to Dorset to collect seaweed samples for a nutrition research project. She's trying to leave behind a disastrous family life, and is haunted by the death of her best friend, Claire, on whom she relied for advice.
Here she meets Brendon, an Australian come to search for his mysteriously-vanished-from-the-family great grandfather. Brendon has discovered a fear of British seagulls, particularly Roger, a hand-reared bird which has taken a liking to Leah.
As Leah and Brendon form a summer friendship, their pasts catch up with them. But together they help each other to see beyond the narrow confines and mistakes of the past.
Despite the cover, this story wasn't as lighthearted as I expected it to be. This wasn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it was reminiscent in some ways of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, in that Leah, the main character, is slightly off kilter when it comes to what society regards as normal. Which is why reading this book was such an enjoyable experience, as it delves into Leah's mind.
The emotional damage suffered by her and her brother is explored sensitively, the characterisation is excellent with its layering and growth, the drama of the event about 2/3 in adds spice, and the seagull is surprisingly cute.
About the Author
Jane was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.
She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies and labours under the tragic misapprehension that men are queueing up for her. Owing to a terrible outbreak of insanity she is the minder of an enormous ginger cat called Arthur and a training-averse terrier; she is also the owner of five practically grown-up children, and she has to spend considerable amounts of time in a darkened room as a result (of the animals, not the kids).
Jane's likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers and the understairs cupboard, words beginning with B, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children have been brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape.
Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.
She had some hobbies once, but she can't remember what they were. Ask her to show you how many marshmallows she can fit in her mouth at once, though, that might give you a clue. Go on, I dare you.
You can find out more about Jane ( should you wish to, of course) from her blog and website at http://www.janelovering.co.uk