Today is a holiday - it is a full moon day called a Poya Day here - and we have twelve for the year. It is such a nice thing to have an additional day off doing almost nothing. I don't count being on the computer as work as this is something I really enjoy.
My first read of Penelope Lively and I've got three books lined up. Finished two already. The books are small ones, easy to read and finish which make it welcome after my last book which was a 1000 pages and difficult to handle.
Stella is in her sixties, retired from anthropological studies where she was pretty successful and now feels that the peace and quiet of an English village is just up her street. Self sufficient to a fault, she chooses this village set in the area of Somerset purely on a picture post card sent by a friend. She has no ties to the place and is determined to settle in and become part of a rural community.
The other characters in the story move parallel with Stella's life. There is Richard (her friend Nadine's widower), there is Molly an archaelogist and her partner Linda - Molly apparently wanting to break free and not knowing how to do it, and then we get the disruptive, aggressive Hilcox family. No one knows where they've come from, no one gets on with them and they keep pretty much to themselves. The sons of the family are people one really does not want to have as neighbours and Stella fails to see that her overtures of being just neighbourly are not very well received by these two awful young men.
Like most things in life, nothing is what it seems. On the surface everything seems very normal but there is a lot of darkness specially the ominous Hilcox family. I always felt that violence was going to happen any minute and the author did keep me on edge because I thought Stella was going to bumble and fumble her way into disaster on the Hilcox side. Then we get Richard trying to also inveigle his way amorously into Stella's path. Stella with her head in the clouds totally unaware of Richard's thoughts almost till the very end when she has to decide how to handle and end the matter gracefully!
Eccentric or quirky characters - I think a mix of both. Down to earth and at the same time not really aware of what is happening around. This forms the characterization of the people in the story. I felt the title Spiderweb was very apt, but this I realized only at the end!
Very up and down reading for this first read but an author I am going to look for.