A four-star book which has afforded me five-star reading pleasure: a very simple, very well written story with an ending which feels real.
It is a very low-key novel about what can make a shattered person reasonably whole again. Here, Tom Birkin, an ex-soldier 'pushed ... through the mincer' of WW I and a man whose marriage has gone very, very bad returns to life day after day thanks to simple things, such as work well done, companionship, and a sense of belonging to a community. Even falling in love is no grand affair - it is a silent summer crush, yet an unlikely one. The very fact that Tom is capable of something as simple as a summer crush is miraculous; the woman he falls in love with is splendid and surprising in her beauty.
There are more surprises - a shameful family secret; a painful private secret; the wall painting Tom gradually restores in a provincial church. But in the end the miracle, the resurrection, as Michael Holroyd calls it in the introduction to the book - itself a gem - is that Tom is capable of resuming his life.