3.5 Stars because my unwelcome cynicism
My first book by Harper Fox comes highly recommended and it was quite lovely.
A beautiful Scottish Island setting, accomplished characterisation and a plot designed to draw inspiration, wonder, humour and empathy too. All delivered with a poet’s flare and a bold passion for love and Mother Nature.
The plot itself is quite a simple one. Two young men fall in love on a sheep farm – a bitter old man learns to be nice (kind of)– an ex-boyfriend who wants not to be - the neighbouring widow who would really make a good match for Nichol, and the dangerous secrets that Cam holds too close to his chest.
What makes Scrap Metal special is Fox’s writing. Everything is brought to life with her lyrical descriptivism, the way the mood of our narrator Nichol is metaphorically reflected by nature and the weather is superb. With Harper Fox, a hill is not just a hill; a rock is not a rock. A five by five dusty utility room is not just that when passion is unleashed – it’s a dusty cell turned into prince charming’s chamber, hung with satin and silk.
And yet - I find myself warring with respectful appreciation of a brilliantly talented author and my own trivial cynicism. This is where I hold up my hand and say: a rock actually is just a rock no matter how grand you make it seem. For me her loquacious poetic prose and lyrical descriptivism is both a treat and a hindrance to this story. Too often I found the story slowed down by overly descriptive surroundings. Yes, it looks and smells lovely, but it’s still just a tree, a hill or a sea breeze. Clearly I am one of those people who walk through the pretty forest just to reach the pub.
As much as I admire her writing, I became immune to it at the 60% mark and thus her talent is almost wasted on a cynic like me. Perhaps Harper Fox will educate reform me; she did in fact have me glued to this story till 2am so that’s saying something. But still, I found the plot itself too ordinary for my taste, too slow and wordy and too dreamily wrapped up.
This is all personal and I DO encourage everyone to read it, even the cynical buggers like me should have a read of this just for the joy of indulging in such a talented writer.