I was joined by Anne Stormont recently as part of the blogtour for her latest novel, Settlement. The book is a sequel to Displacement but can be read as a standalone. At the time, I hadn’t finished the book but had a great guest post from Anne which you can read here. The book opens with arresting opening scenes where ex-policeman Jack is in a perilous situation, it is far from clear whether he will survive or not and his thoughts are for the woman he loves – Rachel. The story moves back four months where we meet Rachel, on the morning of her daughter’s wedding to an ex-serviceman on Skye.
I haven’t read the first book, Displacement, but enough is explained in the first few chapters to give the gist of the main things which happened and explain why the characters are where they are emotionally.
I very much enjoyed the exploration of the complex relationship between Jack and Rachel. Anne Stormont is very perceptive in her understanding of the challenges faced in relationships where people bring their past experiences, thoughts and expectations. And it’s great to read about a relationship between slighter older characters than are often encountered in fiction. I loved the Skye setting and Anne’s descriptions of the beautiful, rugged landscapes there. But there was another very interesting setting in the book when Rachel went to Israel, to work on what sounded like a fascinating peacemaking project. Although Rachel wasn’t sure what impact her work would have, if any, she was assured by one of the characters that “you cannot know what conversations or actions will come from a person reading your book or engaging with a wider project.” Wise and encouraging words for any author.
I found the parts of the book set in Israel particularly fascinating. Like many people, all I really know about the situation there is that it is extremely complicated and not something which will be easily resolved. Through the story, rather than the politics of the situation, the humanitarian aspect of life for people in Palestine and Israel is clear to see. When the boundary wall is mentioned it is evident that the wall separates and divides as all barriers do. The book gave me an eye-opening insight into what life is truly like for people on both sides of the divide in the occupied territories.
The book also explores the impact conflict has on people both for those directly involved and those who love and care for them. It shows how the effects have reverberations throughout the years and touch many people’s lives.
I feel I have made this book sound rather dark and gloomy but it isn’t. It is also a moving look at love between two main characters, Jack and Rachel, who clearly love each other very much but have many issues to contend with before they can think about committing to a relationship again. A very insightful look at the challenges of falling in love at an older age, perhaps for a second time and with so many other people and personal circumstances to consider.
Settlement is such a clever title as it could refer to settling down in a relationship, the settlements in Israel and Palestine or coming to an agreement or understanding – all of which are explored in this compelling, thought-provoking novel. I am pleased to hear there will be another book to feature these characters, which will have the title Fulfilment. I do hope that whatever happens for Jack and Rachel, they will indeed be fulfilled.
From the back of the book
Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest? Can love truly heal old wounds?
Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.
She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?
When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.
But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.
Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.
Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?
Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?
Will they get the chance to put things right between them?
If you like a complex, contemporary, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.
Settlement is available as a paperback and as an ebook. You can order a copy here.
About the author
Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women’s fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.
Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins. She has friends and family all over the world including in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.
Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.
She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes that both aspects come through in her writing.
Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.
She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.