Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist.
Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past – for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce.
Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny toSantiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino (the Way) for centuries. The Camino changes you, it’s said. It’s a chance to find a new version of yourself, and a new beginning. But can these two very different people find themselves? Will they find each other?
In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin’s and Zoe’s stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Two Steps Forward is a novel about renewal – physical, psychological and spiritual. It’s about the challenge of walking a long distance and of working out where you are going. And it’s about what you decide to keep, what you choose to leave behind and what you rediscover along the way.
Reading this book left me feeling like I’d had the day off work at a spa!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is indeed part travel journal, history lesson and novel, all rolled into one. A book about having been dealt life’s blows, doing something you’ve never done before, on your own and giving it a go. I loved the way the book concentrated as much on The Camino as it did on the story of Martin and Zoe and although I have never been on such a walk or had not in fact heard of this one, I could really feel the therapeutic value of what they were doing coming through the book.
A wonderfully calming novel to read yet also kept me turning the pages to find out how the relationships between the characters evolved.
I would recommend this book to everyone.