#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · women's fiction

New Release Book Review: The Narrows by Nene Davies

Title: The Narrows

Author: Nene Davies

Published: September 1st 2020

Publisher: Hammer and Tongs Publishing

Pages: 262

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Women

Rating: 3.5 stars

It’s the Swinging Sixties and in colourful London, everything’s changing.
Traditional boundaries between men and women, love and marriage, work and home, are in flux – and when a love triangle involves four people, the distance between all of them narrows.

Review:

Tangled hearts, impossible choices, heartache, morality, fate and the human condition all have a role to play in The Narrows by Nene Davies. This is the second novel I have read by Australian author Nene Davies, which follows 2018 release Whitethorne. With an open style of storytelling, matched with a strong focus on characters, The Narrows offers an engaging read for fans of general fiction.

The Narrows is a tale that takes the reader back to the heart of the swinging sixties. In this stroll back to times past, we are confronted with an age where everything and everyone is in a state change. In The Narrows, two couples will encounter a noteworthy shift in their lives. In this ultimate test to personal desire, longing, marriage, gender roles, work and relationships, the focal character set of The Narrows will learn how to adjust to these new situations. What impact will these revolutionary times have on the future generations to come?

The Narrows is a book that crosses the 1960s and the present day. It is a tale that will most likely appeal to women’s fiction fans. With a strong focus on characters, emotions and drama, The Narrows builds a picture of a time of transformation, as gender roles and moral boundaries began to be contested, with surprising results.

Nene Davies is able to successfully transport the reader to a time in our not-too-distant past. Although I have heard many tales about the swinging sixties in London from family members, it is a time period that still very much fascinates me. The opportunity to glean more about this revolutionary time period was very much welcomed and I was keen to see how Davies would tackle her 1960s based storyline. Davies devotes a significant portion of the novel to setting the scene. The reader is immersed in the location, general practices, social expectations, attitudes and morals of this era. I appreciated taking a visit to the exclusive Narrows location, it was clearly realised on the pages of this novel.

We are presented with quite the moral dilemma in this novel and I’m going to skirt around the specifics of the situation to avoid any spoilers. What I will say is that initially it was a little shocking, surprising and confusing emotionally. It didn’t sit too well with me as I mulled over both sides of this moral conundrum. As I began to work through the novel and better understand the actions of the characters, I opened my mind to the central issue. While we do remain in the 1960s for a significant portion of the novel, we are also taken to the present. I think it was important for The Narrows to follow this route as we witness how decisions made in the past can have a direct impact on the lives of future generations. This area of the novel allows Davies to draw in elements of mystery, family secrets and personal intrigue. Ultimately, I felt that the parting message of The Narrows was about personal resilience and difficult choices.

The Narrows is a poignant story that looks at the strength of the individual to cope with heartbreaking choices and personal desires. With themes of relationships, personal sacrifice, childlessness, domestic issues, heartbreak and morality leading the way, The Narrows is a thought-provoking title from Nene Davies.

The Narrows by Nene Davies was published on September 1st 2020 by Hammer and Tongs Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Narrows, Nene Davies, visit here.

*I wish to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Narrows is book #135 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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