Self-published in the UK today, the 8th of June 2017.
Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Without your past, who are you?
Deborah was a respected hospital manager until a tragedy destroyed her reputation. She has lost her career, her husband and even her name. Luca wants to stay in the moment. For the first time in his life he has hope and a home. But a fresh start is hard on a zero-hours contract, harder if old voices fill your mind. When a garden share scheme brings them together, Deborah is beguiled by Luca’s youth and grace. He makes her husband’s garden live again. He helps her when she’s at her lowest. But can she trust him? And when the time comes to confront her past, can she find the strength?
This sharply drawn short novel explores the distance between the generations – between health and wealth, owners and workers, guilt and blame.
I love novels that thoughtfully present an unexpected view of people and The Former Chief Executive was perfect for me in that respect. Deborah and Luca are both complex characters, shaped by their former lives, but now trying to fit themselves into alternate existences without the supports, good and bad, of their pasts. This novel cleverly throws traditional gender conventions on their heads with the formerly powerful figure being female and the 'pretty young thing' being male. Vane also weaves in themes of aging, loss and dependency as Deborah struggles to cope with the idea of no longer physically being the strong woman she had prided herself on being.
The Former Chief Executive is gently written novel which drew me in so completely that I wasn't consciously aware of the subtle tension build-up, only that I really didn't want to stop reading until I knew how the situation would resolve itself. The natural environment of Deborah's garden provides a effective contrast to the claustrophobic memories of particularly Luca's past and the intrusive neighbour is wonderfully exasperating. The Devon setting appealed to me as well because I recognised several references to places close by our new home! I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Former Chief Executive and am happy to recommend it to literary fiction fans and readers who appreciate 'different' novels.
Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Kate Vane / Contemporary fiction / Books from England