Dancing in the Shallows

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Pub Date Mar 14 2024 | Archive Date Mar 14 2024

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Description

She's had this feeling before. This feeling of marking time. Of pressing her nose against a window and watching as everyone else lives their best lives.

Isla Wintergreen has not seen her grandfather since she was seven, but when she unexpectedly inherits his cottage on the Isle of Skye, she cannot resist the opportunity to escape her purposeless life. As she slowly becomes a part of the island community, she learns more about the family she never really knew – from her estranged father, to her reclusive grandfather, and her intelligent but oppressed great-grandmother. Meanwhile, her mother Cathy reflects on her own past. Mother and daughter both hope to find new freedom – but can family patterns ever really be broken?

Told through the lives of four generations of Isla's family, all linked by their connection to water, Dancing in the Shallows masterfully explores family relationships and generational inheritance.

She's had this feeling before. This feeling of marking time. Of pressing her nose against a window and watching as everyone else lives their best lives.

Isla Wintergreen has not seen her grandfather...


Advance Praise

‘Clare Reddaway is a richly gifted writer who captures the complexities of her characters’ lives with grace, power, and tender humour. An impressive and memorable debut novella of intergenerational relationships, Dancing in the Shallows masterfully explores the loves, losses, and secrets of Isla Wintergreen and her family at moments of crisis and change.’ — Emma Timpany, author of Travelling in the Dark

‘A warm, compelling read with themes of love, loss and the search for home. I enjoyed piecing together the different strands of this multi-generational story which reflect on the enduring impact of family choices and patterns. Clare Reddaway writes with perception about the power of community, a natural storyteller whose characters jump off the page. It takes a certain skill to draw the reader into the lives of four generations in the same family, exploring longings and motivations from as far back as 1910. Once started, this book insists on being finished as soon as possible. Engaging, immersive and utterly believable.’ — Deborah Jenkins, author of Braver

‘Clare Reddaway is a richly gifted writer who captures the complexities of her characters’ lives with grace, power, and tender humour. An impressive and memorable debut novella of intergenerational...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781914148460
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)
PAGES 192

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Average rating from 23 members


Featured Reviews

What a beautiful little book. I absolutely adored this from the get go, Isla was a wonderful character to centre the book around. The descriptions of Skye were vivid and warm, as were the passages about love and life. I especially loved finding out more about her family, their history and how everything and everyone was connected. Although nothing much actually happens, plot wise, this book is full of gorgeous moments. There’s something special when a book makes you feel melancholy, hopeful and content all at once.

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Published 14 March 2024. This is a short book, 192 pages, which although there is no plot to really speak of is full of family, love and the gorgeous landscape of the Isle of Skye. Water is a theme, dancing in the shallows of the sea, a sea that connects everything. Our main focus is Isla who has just inherited a cottage on the Isle of Skye from a grandfather that she only ever remembers meeting once when she was a child. Before deciding to sell the property she decided to jump in her car and drive over 500 miles to visit it. She finds a rather run down little cottage but with views to die for and a sea that she can swim in every day. Over the rest of the book we meet her mother, her estranged father and we get glimpses of the grandfather that she didn't know and the great grandmother who eventually inspires her. We see their strengths and their vulnerabilities. We see these relationships ebb and flow like the tide, but just like the tide, they are always constant. A book that leaves you feeling warm and satisfied.

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"Dancing in the Shallows" is short yet quite profoundly woven tapestry of human lives. The prose is adorned with precisely detailed descriptions of idyllic landscapes. The author masterfully captures the nuances of human vulnerabilities, through the meticulous placement of the atmospheric undertones across the narrative canvas. Each character is intricately crafted, showcasing a diverse architecture of human vulnerabilities. Projecting the both good and bad of life adds a layer of authenticity to the storytelling. All in all, "Dancing in the Shallows" is beautifully written.

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Dancing in the Shallows is a gorgeous, heartwarming short read. The key elements are inter-generational relationships, the sea as a consistent metaphor and wonderful descriptions of the beauty of the Isle of Skye. I get the distinct ipression that Clare Reddaway has spent a lot of time at this stunning location due to the compassion and authenticity of her descriptions of the area

The story is about Isla, who inherits her grandfathers cottage on the Isle of Skye. She only met him once, and so wants to go to the property to check it out and is immediately entranced by the location

This is a book to read if you want to feel warm and happy, encouraged even. I really like how the sea was used as a metaphor throughout and the interplay between the individual family members. This book is that perfect cup of hot tea when you come in from the freezing rain and there is even a choccie biccie on the side. Wonderful

Thank you to Netgalley, Fairlight Books and Clare Reddaway for this lovely read. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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A place that allows us to breath and smile. With place I may not necessarily mean a physical place but also a place we find inside ourselves where we allow ourselves to be as we are and most of all allow ourselves to be happy.

I enjoyed Clare Reddaway's debut. She grabs the story at various angles and explores how we find our place or lose it or never find it at all. A good choice from Fairlight Moderns.

An ARC gently provided by publishers/author via Netgalley.

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