Okay, The Long Walk Home is a book that I thought would be right up my alley. You know – because I am a single woman of a certain age who still kinda hopes that the possibility of romance still exists out there, although perhaps a little closer than a mountain in Wales.
Handsome Alec Hudson has walked all the way from Heathrow to Dolgellau, which is located in North West Wales. Why didn’t he just rent a car and drive? Well, he’s on a bit of a mission. His ex-wife (and dearest friend) Gwynne has died and her final wish was that her ashes be scattered from the summit of Cadair Idis, a nearby mountain. He arrives at Tan y Gadair, a B & B run by Fiona, a petite, forty-three-year-old who “still had her looks.” Yes, people, we are going there.
Fiona is married, but her husband David lives in a converted hay barn on the property because several years previously he’d been poisoned by the sheep dip ( a pesticide used to cure scab mite) and then suffered a heart attack. He never really recovered and his environmental sensitivities and mood swings, coupled with his penchant for whiskey make him difficult to live with. Fiona brings his food, but they no longer live as man and wife. And really, although David was a decent a guy back in the day, theirs was not a fairy tale marriage. That’s what makes Alec so immediately appealing: he’s good looking, he knows his way around the kitchen and he’s a great conversationalist. He’s the perfect man.
No surprise here – they fall in love. It seems like I am mocking them, but I’m not really. They’re decent people. Alec pitches in around the old B & B, which is also a working sheep farm. By day two, he’s helping Owen, the farm’s hired hand, deliver lambs. By day three Fiona is crying in his arms after a particularly nasty visit with her husband. By day four Alec is confessing: “I am afraid I am very much in love with you…and I don’t know what to do about it.”
I can’t quite figure out why I didn’t like this book all that much. There are no bad guys. Everyone is witty and kind and good. They all make selfless decisions. The only asshat in the book is Fiona’s daughter Meaghan’s boyfriend , Gerald, who is summarily turfed by Owen. And, yes, okay, technically Fiona shouldn’t be having sex with another man – but she hasn’t slept with her husband in years. When that big event transpires it was so treacly, my teeth ached.
So, at the end of the day…I didn’t send The Long Walk Home to the Book Graveyard and while that’s not a ringing endorsement by any stretch, it at least lets you know that I read the whole thing. If you are interested in lambing, climbing, cooking, and listening to a middle aged woman say things like,”Yes, darling man, please,” then by all means, read Will North’s book.
A picture of Cadair Idis.