‘The Comet Seekers’ by Helen Sedgwick ****

9781910701737One Day meets The Time Traveler’s Wife in this spellbinding, magical debut novel about love, loss, hope and heartbreak that shows us that for each of us, the world can be as lonely or as beautiful as the comets that illuminate the skies above us. Roisin and Francois first meet in the snowy white expanse of Antarctica. And everything changes. While Roisin grew up in a tiny village in Ireland, ablaze with a passion for science and the skies and for all there is to discover about the world, Francois was raised by his beautiful young mother, who dreamt of new worlds but was unable to turn her back on her past. As we loop back through their lives, glimpsing each of them only when a comet is visible in the skies above, we see how their paths cross as they come closer and closer to this moment. Theirs are stories filled with love and hope and heartbreak, that show how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and the world can be as lonely or as beautiful as the comets themselves.’

I started reading Helen Sedgwick’s The Comet Seekers on the long journey up to Glasgow.  It has fast become one of my highly anticipated reads of the year, especially since scrolling through some of its Goodreads reviews.  The premise was simple, yet very cleverly used, and all of the separate stories were carefully tied together to make a rich whole.  Some of the occurrences – for example, Roisin and Francois living in the relatively small town of Bayeux at the same time – felt a little too convenient, but it was put together in such a way that actually, such chance almost-meetings felt very sweet, and almost necessary to the whole.

The breadth of Sedgwick’s research here is almost breathtaking.  She handles the information well, and writes beautifully.  Some of her phrasing is nothing short of sublime.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the presence of the ghosts – I am the first to admit that I am not at all interested in the paranormal for the most part – but in hindsight, it did work well.  The Comet Seekers is peopled with realistic characters, well-rehearsed scenes, and startling conversations.  My only real qualm was that some of the details toward the end of the novel were a little odd and unnecessary, but overall, I must admit that I really enjoyed it.

Purchase from The Book Depository

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