Dark Clouds Bring Waters by I.R. Ridley – blogtour

It’s my turn today on the blogtour for this touching novella. While it would be true to say that I’ve read other novels that cover similar ground, I can’t think of one that has done it so poignantly and succinctly; Ridley covers a lot of ground in just 136 pages.

The book begins with a prologue; a letter from 1993, in which Adam writes to Billie, expressing regret at how their break-up went so badly, but telling her he’s happy now with Christine, and hoping she’s happy too.

We move back to the present and meet Luke, a middle-aged comedy writer. A widower, he hasn’t written a word since his wife died of cancer three years ago. Billie was Luke’s second wife and they had a good life together, and Luke’s son Jude from his first marriage eventually warmed to her. Adam was Billie’s first husband, and it was the discovery of a pile of letters and her diaries from their time together, of which the prologue was the last one, that has taken him back to Italy to the beautiful little resort half an hour from Genoa where Billie and Luke spent many happy holidays, including Billie’s last one when she was ill.

Adam had moved to the same region of Italy, and Luke plans to return the letters to him, unread bar that last one, but also he’d love to learn more about Billie’s life before they met. But will Adam be willing to share given the bad feelings when they split?

This is the first time Luke has gone away on his own, and having gone to back to an old haunt brings memories flooding back, the staff remember him – and Billie too. He grieves afresh, but also it will allow him to move on as he comes to terms with having lost the love of his life. The reader also hopes that he will recover his sense of humour, and that new friendships might happen…

Ridley handles Luke’s grief very sensitively, it’s so well done, and it did make me well up a little. Then there is the mystery of Billie and her mercurial and sometimes difficult moods. The gradual reveal to show us her true mature character, and the insights that came out when she was so ill was equally affecting.

This was such a lovely novella, with a protagonist that was easy to love and endings tied up to complete satisfaction. I so enjoyed Luke’s Italian pilgrimage, and was transported to the Italian Riviera with him!

Source: Review copy – Thank you. V Books paperback original, 136 pages.

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4 thoughts on “Dark Clouds Bring Waters by I.R. Ridley – blogtour

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      While offering nothing new in terms of plot necessarily, this novella did it so well, it was a lovely read.

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