The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville #BookReview


Today is a good day, not just because all three of my children have gone back to school full-time (hurray!) and I’m enjoying a quiet and productive day, but also because it’s my turn to review this wonderful book for the blog tour arranged by Head of Zeus – thank you so much for my gifted copy of the book and for having me along on the tour.

The blurb …

Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.

Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.

My review …

I loved this exquisitely written debut novel from Zoe Somerville. It was a pleasure to read and I found myself swept along with the wonderful characters’ lives leading up to the dreadful flood in January 1953.

In May 1952, Arthur has just come back from National Service after the war. He feels suffocated by his home town in Norfolk and has ambitions to move to London to become a journalist, but he is hopelessly in love with Verity and longs for her to leave with him.

Verity has her heart set on studying at Oxford University and has no desire to be a wife and mother. She loves Arthur, as her family took him in as an evacuee during the war, but she’s not sure whether she wants to take the next step in their relationship. So, when her head is turned by charming American pilot Jack, the three become involved in a heartbreaking love triangle.

The complex atmosphere of Norfolk in the post war era comes across brilliantly through the young characters in this story. The effects of the war are still being felt with a new threat of nuclear conflict hanging over them, whilst at the same time hope for the future shines through and the need to have fun and expand their horizons. There were many different threads of this story that dealt with the characters’ struggles against the societal limitations of that time period, (which I won’t delve into for fear of spoilers), that were beautifully written and very emotional to read.

The tension is maintained throughout this ominous story until the climax on the night of the devastating flood and this is when the heartbreaking effects of the love triangle all come to a head in a terrible night of darkness, fear and loss.  

‘Behind her eyes, this is what she sees.

Half memory, half nightmare.

Outlined against the setting sun over the salt-wrecked marsh, a white arm reaching from a black tree.

It does not make sense’

I was gripped by this thrilling love story from start to finish and I was fascinated by the inspiration behind the novel of the real-life North Sea flood of 1953. It is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I would highly recommend to fans of historical and literary fiction. I loved it!

About the author …

Zoe Somerville

Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950s.

The Night of the Flood was published in hardback on 3rd September 2020 priced at £18.99

If you would like to read some more reviews from this book tour, then here are the other bloggers who are taking part …

For more information please see: / @HoZ_books


Thanks so much for reading!


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