17 May 2015

How I Wonder What You Are

Synopsis from Goodreads: Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …”

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one, lying comatose, on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.

But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no drunken layabout, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.

Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …

Stats for my copy: Kindle, Choc Lit Limited, 2014

How acquired: Netgalley

First line (skipping the prologue): The man lay naked, unconscious and , inevitably I suppose given the temperature, slightly blue.

My thoughts: Molly and Phinn are two lost souls, closed up inside themselves and holding the world at bay. Molly writes for a magazine and came to this remote little village after a bad breakup. She doesn't talk about her ex, nor will she talk about her mother and why she's so angry with her that she avoids her calls or hangs up as soon as she answers the phone. Her life consists of her little cottage, her friend (and landlady) across the street, Caro, and a horse named Stan who is a character in his own right. When she sees mysterious colorful lights flitting across the sky, she's entranced and curious about them, although nobody else in the village appears to have seen them.

One day while out riding Stan, Molly comes across a naked unconscious man lying on the ground. And that's how she meets Phinn. He's a physicist, quite well known in the science community. A lanky, awkward, bespectacled man who's taken up residence in an abandoned, neglected, moldy/mildewey house across the village. (Actually I don't remember if the author described him as “lanky” but in my head he is.) When Phinn sees mysterious colorful lights flitting across the sky, he's entranced and curious about them, although his friend Link never sees them, even when he's walking just a few yards behind Phinn.

While Molly is recovering from her bad breakup, Phinn wears the remnants of his marriage like a cloak. It covers him all around, keeping his memories close and allowing his anxiety and low self-esteem to leak out through the worn fabric. His wife convinced him that he's a wimp, that he's not a real man, that no real woman would want him.

Right from the beginning I was captivated by the narration, by the author's voice and her turn of phrase. It was flowing, almost lyrical at times. An example:
Phinn was about twenty yards behind with the tent bag slung across his shoulders and the last rays of the sun tinting his face and hair before it sank behind the hump of moorland to the west. It caught his glasses and blocked out his eyes, replacing them with reflections of the scenery, making him look as though he'd been possessed by the spirit of the moors.”

And another:
The anger weighted his words, made them drop and bend the atmosphere around them.”

For the most part I enjoyed the story, enjoyed getting to know Phinn and Molly, as well as Stan the horse. I expected those mysterious lights to play into the plot more than they did, but the plot moved forward steadily (albeit a little slowly) despite the lights not being more involved. However, as much I hate to say it, I did at times agree with Phinn that he was being a wimp, and kept wanting him to “man up” and grow a pair. And when he finally did, I was initially disappointed at the way he went about it. But everything was resolved nicely in the end and overall it was a sweet little story.

Note: It's my understanding this is the fourth book in a series, The Yorkshire Romances, but each book can be read as a stand alone. 

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