THE ROCKS, by Peter Nichols, has a dream of a cover. This is the quintessential summer novel. I fell in love with the cover, then magically fell in love with the story. It’s extremely well-written with a secret from the beginning that keeps you reading all night long.
I opened the book not knowing what to expect. The novel begins with the end. Chapter one is a mind-popper!! Even now, just thinking about this unbelievably compelling beginning, my head is infused with excitement.
The Rocks is the name of a small hotel on the island of Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain, owned and operated by Lulu. Opened in the 1950’s this place has become a party destination for natives and expats alike. The characters you meet will not only keep you entertained throughout the novel, they will get into your head and mess with you.
Lulu and Gerald are octogenarians who haven’t spoken to each other in fifty years. Two people who once married, briefly. They live within a few miles from one another. What on earth could have happened all those years ago to cause such a rift.?Such anger, such mystery. This is the shadow that has been cast over their families for all these years. What on earth could have happened?
THE ROCKS is not a happy-go-lucky beach read. But it’s full of all the things we look for in a book for summer: mystery; secrets; sexual intrigue; and enchantment with great characters. And, oh yes, pitch perfect sense of place. The cover already points that out.
Peter Nichols has worked in advertising, as a screenwriter, and as a shepherd in Wales, and has sailed alone across the Atlantic. He is indeed an interesting and arresting author. He has created a dream sense of place. I want to be on the island of Mallorca. That’s how good it is.
Although most of the action takes place on Mallorca, there are scenes in Paris and in Morocco. Great parts of the story are set in Morocco, another place I am in awe of.
Lulu is a complicated and unusual woman. At the age of 80 she is still sprite-like and youngish. With her long hair that has been totally white since she was in her 30’s, she continues to be sexual and vital. Gerald, on the other hand, is riddled with arthritis and stooped over a cane. He’s become an old man who acts like one.
Lulu is not the only complicated character here. This fine novel is full of them. From family members to friends who’ve been coming to stay at Villa Los Roques for more than fifty years, they all are full of quirky parts and bring plenty to the plate of this story.
Much of THE ROCKS will remind you of THE ODYSSEY. And so it is intended. And almost makes you want to go back and read through it again.
I hope you will love THE ROCKS as much as I have. I am so grateful to the kind and insightful publishing marvels at Riverhead books for sending me this gorgeous finished copy.
And to all my readers out there: Sit back and relax and enjoy the “voyage.”