A Good Voyage
Chatto and Windus
The Romantic Novel of the Year Awards
About the book
When her twin brother breaks a promise and returns to their childhood home in Sri Lanka on his own, Valentina decides that it’s time to make some changes in her life. She cuts off her hair and takes a job as a gardener (although she’d prefer to be a writer) in a small town near the sea in Wales. And so the story takes us to Illerwick, an alluring, timeless place, and to the people who live there. Leo Spring, an eccentric musician, lives alone in Beech House with a once beautiful garden that has now become overgrown and wild. Valentina has come to help Leo restore the neglected garden to its former glory, and she soon falls in love with him. But Leo is consumed by his unrequited infatuation with Melody, the beautiful headmistress in mourning for her brother who leapt to his death from the cliffs. Mr Boase, the alcoholic and bullying deputy head, also holds a flame for Melody; and one of her pupils, Fitch, is another who daydreams about her. As summer draws near, and the garden is gradually transformed, Leo organises a garden party in an attempt to impress Melody. But on the night of the party, events come to a head, secret passions are revealed, and the characters are jolted into understanding that facing their feelings can be a matter of life or death. A Good Voyage is a magical story that charts the voyages of its characters as they move from the pain and comedy of loss and longing to self-realisation and love. Katharine Davies writes with an astounding poise and lightness of touch, making this first novel, with its air of disquiet and enchantment, an unforgettable pleasure.