September 1, 2007

The Long Walk Home

The Long Walk Home by Will North
Contemporary Fiction
Finished on 8/24/07
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

Book Description

When forty-three-year-old Fiona Edwards first sees the lanky backpacker striding up the lane toward her award-winning farmhouse bed-and-breakfast in the remote mountains of North Wales, she’s puzzled. She’s used to unexpected strangers, but few arrive on foot. The man to whom she opens her door is middle-aged, unshaven, sweat-soaked . . . and arrestingly handsome. What neither of them knows at that moment is that their lives are about to change forever.

American Alec Hudson has carried the ashes—and the memory—of his late ex-wife, Gwynne, all the way from London’s Heathrow Airport, honoring her request that he scatter them atop a mountain they had climbed together years before—the same brooding peak whose jagged cliffs rise to the sky from the back pastures of Fiona’s farm. But the weather doesn’t cooperate, and as Fiona and Alec wait for it to clear, they are drawn together by mutual loss, longing, and the miracle of love at midlife.

On the day he finally reaches the summit, Alec is caught in a vicious hailstorm. As he struggles to descend, he stumbles upon the body of a man he recognizes from a photograph at the farm: it is Fiona’s ailing and reclusive husband, David, and he is close to death.

Will North’s debut novel, The Long Walk Home, is a story about grief and hope, about love and loss, and about two people struggling with the agonizing complexities of fidelity—to a spouse, to a moral code, to each other, and to a passion neither thought would ever appear again. By turns lyrical and gripping, set amid a landscape of breathtaking beauty and unpredictable danger, this is a story you will not soon forget.

About the Author

Will North is the award-winning ghostwriter of half a dozen nonfiction books. He divides his time between Seattle and Great Britain. This is his first novel.

I don't have too much to say about this book. It started off a bit like something Rosamunde Pilcher might write, but wound up more like Nicholas Sparks does The Bridges of Madison County. That said, I enjoyed it (in spite of the moral dilemmas and somewhat stilted dialogue) and look forward to North's next novel. Oh, and what a great cover! I'd love to have a print of that hanging in my office! Better yet, I'd love to live in Wales in that house!


  1. Yeah! I clicked through to your site just to say that I LOVE the cover!! Nice. Too bad the book wasn't a 5 too, or it'd be perfect!!

  2. Lisa - It sure is! And the book wasn't half bad. Not perfect, but enjoyable fluff.

  3. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Dear Les (and Lisa),

    Thanks for your review. It sounds like you were a bit disappointed by the story, but I appreciate your having taken the time to review it nonetheless. The comparison with Nick Sparks is, I suppose, inevitable. Not many men write love stories. One reviewer said it was a story Sparks would write "if he actually was a good writer." Also been compared to Elizabeth Berg.

    Again, my thanks,

  4. Will - What a pleasant surprise to see your comment! Yes, I was a bit disappointed but that's not to say I didn't enjoy the read. I have to agree with the reviewer who said it was a story Sparks would write "if he actually was a good writer." Your book is better than anything I've read by Sparks and perhaps I was a bit careless with the comparison. But yes, not many men write love stories and his name was the first to come to mind. And, yes, I do see the similarity to Elizabeth Berg, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. I enjoy her descriptions of domestic life and the clarity of your writing made me feel like I'd recognize Fiona and her B&B if I happened upon them in Wales. I was also quite touched by Alec's grief, the details of which were accurate and believable (having recently experienced a personal loss of my own).

    As I said in my brief review, I look forward to your next novel -- perhaps a sequel?

  5. A man who, I think, writes excellent "love stories" is Robin Pilcher. I think, as I've told you another time, he is a better writer than his mother.

    I am amazed that the author wrote to you!!!!!

  6. This sounds like it could be promising--I was actually taken by the cover as well. By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all your photos you posted from your vacation!! I looked like a dream vacation to me--I'd love to travel that way!

  7. Nan - Yes, you're right, he is quite good with the romance. I've only read one of his, but I plan to read more. I noticed he has a new one out this past week. Title escapes me, though.

    Yah, me too, actually. I hope he comes back to read my response. I really feel a bit bad that I made it sound like I didn't like the book. I did. I just didn't love it.

    Danielle - I hope you give it a try. It's definitely a worthwhile read and I enjoyed it. The characters and setting are still lingering in my mind; always a good sign of a good book.

    Oh, and I'm glad you enjoyed the travel pics. It was great fun. Now we're heading out again - Oregon this time.


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