The 1960’s kids’ TV programme ‘Camberwick Green’ depicts a quaint village in the fictitious region of Trumptonshire, where the inhabitants bustle about in harmonious contentment. At first sight, Hunterswick Green seems like a grown-up reproduction of that childhood idyll. Young couple, Alison and Peter, are smitten by the luxurious setting – fifty acres of rolling countryside, tastefully-appointed houses and the clockwork efficiency of a development that is designed to fulfill every need. In Hunterswick Green, rubbish is tactfully collected at night, there is a stylish bar/restaurant on site, and a community of like-minded residents live out their days in comfort and style.
This Arcadian environment is overseen by the magnetic, Michael King, local celebrity-cum-businessman whose irresistible charm entices Alison into his arms. As her attraction grows, Alison’s fragile resistance is jeopardised, placing her marriage in peril. As she is soon to discover, however, Hunterswick Green is not quite the ideal haven it is reputed to be. Underneath the glossy development lies a dark and disturbing world, like a photographic negative of the apparently flawless community above.
Written in lucid style, Iris Lloyd’s skilful narration draws you into this near-mythical tale of dual universes, one horrific, one idyllic. Behind the deceptively cool narrative, this is an energising and exciting novel. You will surge from page to page as you accompany Alison on her frightening journey into the labyrinthine recesses of a dangerous, yet oddly familiar new world.
The writer navigates the lives of her characters with dexterity and you can’t help but root for Alison throughout the novel. The ending – though not entirely unexpected – is nevertheless satisfying.
About the author – I met Iris recently in Guernsey where The First Guernsey Writers in conjunction with The White Horse Writers were running a local weekend workshop at the wonderful Les Cotils. These are people of immense charm, whose longstanding dedication to the craft of writing has resulted in a collective body of work that shines with individuality, skill and humour.
I had the honour to attend Les Cotils as workshop tutor, though I’m confident that I learned far more from this wise community of writers than I managed to impart to them! Iris, who is a member of White Horse Writers, is a prolific author and has published a series of popular historical novels. Find out more at Iris’s website.