Back in 2011 a new author appeared on the scene with a novel called Jericho. It tells the tale of a straight woman, Syd, running away from her failed marriage to lick her wounds in the small town of Jericho. On her way into town she gets a flat and is saved by the town Doctor, Maddie, a single out lesbian – but our unsuspecting straight girl doesn’t realise that.. in fact doesn’t find out for quite a long time.
While setting up a new library and living in the flat above, Syd begins to form a strong friendship with Maddie, gets involved with the quirky local families and inadvertently begins to put down roots in the community. As their friendship develops Maddie is faced with the perennial question of how and when to tell her new friend, while Syd casually flirts and innocently captures Maddie’s heart. But Maddie has commitment issues of her own, and we all know what they say about falling for straight girls…
Jericho was and is an admirable first novel. It’s not perfect, although it’s main characters sometimes appear so. But it is full of superb observation of human character and behaviour. It is infused with love and humour, drawing out and catching the idiosyncrasies of a wide cast of locals that we can all recognise and largely empathise with.
The writing style is excellent, clearly showing the author’s literary potential, the wit is a precursor of even more humorous offerings such as the Diz and Clarissa stories. The slow burn is a wonderful alternative to so many flash in the pan romances where we get fed love at first sight and the angst of working out how. Here we essentially spend most of the well filled 416 pages, from the first meeting to the eventual resolution, watching not only Syd and Maddie come together, but a family develop and a community grow.
I loved this on first, second and third reading, as the series has progressed it has grown more and more dear. With a new offering on the table I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning of the Jericho story.
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