Lesley Hayes is one of my favourite authors whom I admire for her wide literary range and her gift for sharp psychological observation.
“Written in Water” is the first in a new series of books written by her about three young women and their choices and opportunities in the 1960s.
This combines two of my favourite genres: coming-of-age novels and – to some extent one has to call it – historical fiction.
Some famous themes of the 1960ies infiltrate the lives of our protagonists in very different ways, teaching me a lot about how both, dominant and fragile these themes were:
Free love – which doesn’t always bring freedom, spiritual awakening – which often is just a cover up for something else and
legalisation of homosexuality – which didn’t guarantee a care free life, to name a few.
As always with Hayes, this is a rich read with heavy undertones of sexual identity, domestic abuse and love triangles. It reads like an addictive saga of friendship and of the turbulent times.
Hayes has chosen three excellent character types coming from very different backgrounds and having very different themes running through their lives; the women have the kind of friendship that exists against the odds and therefor has a much higher chance of surviving as if it were based on the obvious or specific.
For the reader these great differences mean a feast of fresh perspectives on each of the plot threads: parallels, juxtaposition and contradictions in the respective lives, plus the company of three very likeable and relatable characters.
I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship.
Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of their connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades. Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into women.
Lesley Hayes lives in Oxford, where she gains much of the inspiration for her writing. She had numerous short stories and one novel published prior to training as a psychotherapist, and for two years had a weekly slot on BBC Radio Oxford reading her short stories. Having surrendered to the compelling urge to write fiction again, she has now published seven novels: The Drowned Phoenician Sailor, A Field Beyond Time, Round Robin, Dangerous People, The Other Twin, The Girl He Left Behind, and most recently, Exits and Entrances, which is the first book in a trilogy entitled Written in Water. All are available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She has also published six collections of short stories on Kindle: Staying Alive, Oxford Marmalade, The Oscar Dossier, Without a Safety Net, and Not Like Other People – the last two collections are available both on Kindle and in paperback in a collated version titled Through a Glass Darkly. You can find out more about her on her website: http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk and also catch up with her random musings on her blog: http://www.blog.lesleyhayes.co.uk