Monday, May 27, 2019

Book review of Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

French Village Diaries book review Two Steps Forward Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Following on from my previous posts set in the Pays Basque, we picked St Jean Pied de Port as our location for its Camino fame, and tomorrow I will share our first tentative steps on the famous route. Today I have a review for Two Steps Forward, a novel written by husband and wife authors Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, about two people walking the Chemin de St Jacques pilgrimage route (or Camino) from Cluny in central France to St Jean Pied de Port, and onwards to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

Zoe is an American widow, escaping to France following the sudden death of her husband. She is not sure what she wants or needs and rather stumbles on the Camino with little prior knowledge of what is involved or time to plan. It just feels right for her as she begins her journey of recovery and starts to think about the necessary decisions for her future.

Martin is British divorcé, working in France, where he invents a handcart for long distance walkers that he hopes will prove to be a success, and hatches a plan to test it on the ultimate walking journey; the Camino.

Their start points may coincide, but there are many things that keep them apart, even when friendship begins to form. Written in alternative chapters by Graeme and Anne, the two characters Martin and Zoe have distinct personalities and their own voices throughout the book. Both of the authors are seasoned Camino walkers and their knowledge is evident in the daily struggles and challenges Zoe and Martin face walking alone day after day, often in extreme weather and crossing difficult terrain. While this book is about the Camino it’s also a novel, with emotions, issues to resolve and sparks of romance to tease the readers imagination along the way. The Camino is as much a journey for the mind as well as for the body; can it give Zoe and Martin a change of direction for their futures, can the bonds formed on the Camino last outside of the Camino bubble, and will what they learn about themselves on the journey help them with their family relationships in the future?

This book is a great mix of fact and fiction and gave me a bit of everything I enjoy; the descriptions of the physical journey of the Camino as well as the emotional journey Zoe and Martin found themselves on. If the Camino is something that interests you, I’m sure you will enjoy reading Two Steps Forward. Available in ebook, audiobook, hardback and paperback format, links to Amazon can be found below.

Here are a few of my previous posts about the Pays Basque you might like:

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