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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Long, Hot, Dangerous Summer

A Mile of River - Judith Allnatt

Jess is a seventeen year old girl growing up on a farm in the midlands during the nineteen seventies. Her mother left home when Jess was much younger; her father is a domineering, controlling figure. Jess wants to do the things that other teenagers do and she has ambitions to go to university to study medicine, all of which her father opposes adamantly. So she takes refuge in dreaming of her mother's return.

Now, as the countryside is gripped by drought and Jess' father's old-fashioned ideas about farming and status bring bankruptcy ever nearer, the truth about her mother's disappearance becomes clear.

This intensely claustrophobic book makes difficult reading at times but it is rewarding for its acute observation both of nature and of human behaviour, and for the authenticity of its characterisation. It's not a feel-good book but it is one that feels true.