1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.
Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.
Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.
I picked up this book having heard various people rave about it, so I guess I probably had fairly high hopes when I started it. I enjoyed it, just didn’t love it. So, Peggy is 8 when her father takes her away to live in a cabin in the woods. He tells her that they are the only two people still living in the world, and together they live in the small wooden cabin, die Hutte, living off the resources in the forest. She lives there for 9 years. We flit back and forth between Peggy’s time in the forest from 1976 and her return to civilisation in 1985. We slowly uncover her story and fill in the gaps.
Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the first half of this book much. It dragged somewhat and I just couldn’t get into the story. I definitely preferred the second half of the book, or perhaps even the final third. I felt that’s when things started to happen and I finally became absorbed in the story.
The writing in this book is undoubtedly beautiful, but for me beautiful writing doesn’t capture and hold my attention, it’s the storyline that does and I just wasn’t that invested in this. All-in-all, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m glad I finished it and I enjoyed it in the end, but it isn’t a book I would thrust into a fellow bookworm’s hands.