The Fortnight in September;R.C. Sherriff
Simon & Schuster Audio - 2021
Jilly Bond - narrator - 9 hours 40 min.
Originally written in 1931, The Fortnight in September, was a wonderful COVID-escape read.
The Stevens family is preparing for their annual holiday returning to the same seaside town where the couple honeymooned 20+ years earlier. Now the Stevens the clan, as a family, has returned to Bognor Regis year after year. Besides the mother and father there is Mary 20, Dick 17 and Ernie 10-ish. The story begins with all the pre-planning that goes on into getting there: packing, leaving the pet, home and garden behind, train arrangements and so much more.
Mrs. Stevens clearly doesn't even like going to the beach but she does it year after year for her family. She comes across as a bit of an anxious woman who worries about what people will think about her, afraid of not measuring up or being laughed at, her mind is constantly moving and worrying at full-speed. Mr. Stevens seems anxious as well; he obsesses about everything in preparing for the trip by checking and double checking. He is a bit of a nut when it comes to details making sure everything and I mean everything is in place with no room for error. It is clear that Mr. Stevens is a hard worker and that his family means everything to him. Once they finally arrive and getting there is full of delightful details, they soon settle into holiday mode. We see the children enjoy themselves, relaxing, swimming and meeting new friends and thinking about their own futures.
The story is told basically from the POV of Mr. Stevens but, we clearly get to see what others are thinking and doing. There is nothing earth-shattering that happens in this story, yet the prose and slower pace makes the reader long for a similar, simpler life and time. What a treat! This would be a terrific book to take along on your own holiday or vacation. I'm happy I had the chance to try it and it was such a different kind of story from anything I've read in a long while.
Thanks go to Simon & Schuster Audio and Edelweiss for allowing me access to both the eGalley and audio book which made for a perfect combo read/listen. The audio was read by Jilly Bond who did a fine job.
Rating - 4.5/5 stars