River of Destiny

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River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine

Beautifully written, as ever, and full of well researched historical details this novel is set on the banks of the River Debden in Suffolk. As you would expect from Barbara Erskine it skilfully interweaves the lives of Zoe, Ken and Leo in modern day Suffolk and Eric, Edith, Emily and Dan who lived there centuries ago.

I am a great fan of Barbara Erskine. I have read most, if not all, of her novels over the years. This if the first one I can remember in which the story moves between two different periods in the past and which does not seem to have a direct link between the main protagonist in each time period.  As a result this novel lacks intensity. The characters are formed with broader strokes so the reader can’t empathise with them very easily.  To me it felt more like watching a distant film rather than living through events and emotions with the heroine, particularly with the historical characters.  Perhaps this was a deliberate attempt to move away from the slightly supernatural feel of the connections between characters in different time periods of the previous books. If so, it didn’t work for me.

Still an interesting read but if you are expecting something similar to previous books you may be disappointed.



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