Guest Review of Kath Middleton's Message in a Bottle

Last year I enjoyed reading Message in a Bottle by Kath Middleton. A couple of weeks ago my husband, Michael Murray, finished reading the book and he's written this review which I'm pleased to add to my blog to-day.

A Mozartian chamber piece for a quartet. A young woman is tragically widowed. Her despair is compounded when she discovers that her relationship with her husband and his best friend was more equivocal and complicated than she believed. In her despair she makes a desperate and apparently futile gesture that has extraordinary consequences. Her life begins to turn away from the negative but the shattering disillusionments of the past make her more sceptical of others' motives. However, her developing recovery is sustained by the kindness and generosity she derives from her new relationships and her experience turns truly positive when she realises that life repeats itself but never in exactly the same manner.

Kath Middleton's novella is a deceptively simple piece. It is subtle and nuanced and its unfashionable emphasis on love, redemption and the renewal of faith where there was only despair resonates long afterwards. Like all fine books it expresses complex ideas simply. It is sparely and economically written and is very, very readable. The marine and geological symbols of permanency through change reflect the theme perfectly. It restores one's belief in the power of goodness and love to prevail when the world daily nullifies such values. Its mixture of the cerebral and the metaphysical reminded me of Iris Murdoch. The final  paragraph is brilliant. Expressed with beautiful simplicity it provides an excellent maxim for survival in a world of flux and constant change. Highly recommended.

You can find details of all Kath Middleton's writing on her Author Page at Amazon including her recently published novel Top Banana which I've just started reading and am really enjoying.