The Little Blue Door by Francesca Catlow
Melodie is going on a trip to Corfu to help her regain perspective after the pandemic. Wearing a mask, she notices a girl at the airport with remarkable eyes, and it is a vision that remains with her. Arriving at a rented house she realises that the whole island reminds her of her beloved grandparents who have brought her up and have recently died. Reconnecting with those she knows from her frequent holidays on the island, she drinks, appreciates the never ending sunshine and explores the places she knows so well. It is when she meets the girl with the amazing eyes once more that her life view is changed, and she makes discoveries that she could never have foreseen.
This is a book told from the point of view of a young woman desperately trying to understand what she has gone through so far in life, and how she is to proceed in the future. The beauty of Corfu is vividly described as a backdrop to difficult events, but also the positive discovery of love in various forms. While the sights and smells remind Melodie of her grandparents, the atmosphere retains the hope which she is desperately longing for through the difficult months she has endured. She is honest in her narration, admitting when she feels that she has said or done the wrong thing. She talks about her clothes, her shoes, her drinking, but also about her feelings about going into a church, trying to hide in the sea. This is a novel written with great feeling for the place in which Melodie finds herself, its natural beauty and the welcoming nature of the people. Obviously the author knows and loves Corfu, and has used that knowledge as a context for a moving and well told story of a young woman. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this rewarding book.
Melodie is fortunate that her work can be completed anywhere online, and so she can indulge in a holiday of several weeks in the resorts on Corfu. She realizes that there is no one who knows or is concerned about her, now that her grandparents have gone. She has always understood that her mother abandoned her at a few days old, and her father was not known. She has not had a romantic relationship for a few years, she knows that she has been able to live as a sort of “hermit” with her online work in social media. She meets old friends and makes new ones, especially her friend Maria and her introduction to Nico. When she encounters the girl once more she discovers that Gaia can provide introductions to more than one person who will become important, all within the setting of an idyllic island existence.
This is a carefully written and structured book with real insight into the contemporary lives of women. Melodie is a very vivid character who is honest about everything, including her consumption of ouzo and attraction to certain people. The place is beautifully described, as well as Melodie’s thoughts about her past.This is a sensitive book which I really enjoyed and found difficult to put down as I was so keen to see what the outcome would be for Melodie and others I recommend it for those who enjoy contemporary stories in holiday resort settings, written with real feelings and empathy.