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|Heat of the Moment|
|Waiting for the Sea to be Blue|
In a tumbledown cottage overlooking the English Channel, Liam McGuinness lives alone, fighting to survive on the meagre income he makes from his paintings. When his terrorist brother offers him a steady income in return for providing a 'safe house' and running the occasional errand to London, Liam doesn't ask too many questions.
Across the bay is another cottage, the holiday home of a City banker, Henry Alland. It is there that Henry tells his new love, Suzannah, that he will abandon everything - his wife, his two sons, his smart London home - to be with her. Ignoring her own misgivings, and the warnings of others, Suzannah sets about befriending Henry's children, trying to make a place for herself in their lives.
From their two sides of the bay, Liam and Suzannah spend one summer facing up to the consequences of their actions. For Liam a dramatic choice reveals that his passive support for terrorism has far greater significance than he has allowed himself to believe, while Suzannah, taking on the role of a surrogate wife and mother, learns that family ties are not easily made or broken.
Looking Out is an original and compelling novel about facing up to responsibility and acknowledging the consequences of action, however painful the process may be.
..what seems to start out as an unambitious Home Counties tale gains complexity and interest. A good story, well told. Publishing News
….there is much original and arresting writing here…. I look forward to her next novel very much, and, if she will allow me, would suggest that a film director might find Looking Out a ready-made blockbuster. Richard Jeffcoat, Literary Review
East Africa in 1978. For Patrick Whitman, Independence has changed very little. In the tea hills overlooking the Rift Valley, the reign of the mzungu continues unchallenged. Well looked after by his servants, Patrick finds the life of a tea planter arduous but pleasant. There is only one thing missing: it is time he had a wife.
On leave in England, he meets Julia; young, pretty an inexperienced. For her, Patrick's tales of Africa, and his pictures of life in Ledorot in a beautiful house surrounded by servant appear as a kind of paradise. Left alone in the world after the death of her mother, she agrees to marry him.
But Patrick's Africa is not the place she dreamed of. His paradise becomes a prison, and Patrick himself her warder. The only liberty she finds is in the forbidden company of a servant's son, but even this freedom is false. By imperceptible degrees, the servant's friendship turns into tyranny.
In this vivid and deftly written first novel, Philippa Blake shows that the contentions needed to maintain colonial ways in a post-colonial age are inimical to those of an open and developing society, and that below the placid surface, a frightening violence lurks.
Philippa Blake's first novel is confidently written and she conveys the awfulness of Ledorot and Julia's growing desperation with a shrewd economy of detail. Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times
The book avoids overstatement of its fundamental racial themes and weaves an intricate plot under the stifling subdued violence of white mischief and the hot African sun. Publishing News
Blake's portrayal of the twilight of white supremacy in black Africa provides a powerful debut for a woman who is clearly a new author of great promise. Her deft touch and easy style brings this dying breed of Britons abroad to life in a truly vivid and moving way. This lady is definitely one to watch. Jane Gough, Western Morning News
Blake illustrates the inadequacy of colonial ways in a post-colonial age…. Alice Thompson, Glasgow Herald
Interestingly this was short-listed for the Betty Trask award for romantic fiction, for there is very little romance here beyond the first few pages…..A vivid and disturbing picture of modern Africa Bookworld.
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