Strange Eventful History is the final book in the Written in Water Trilogy. Amazingly, it can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading Exits and Entrances and Better Strangers first, otherwise, how can you be intrigued by the sameness, and yet time-changed differences, in Cordelia, Beatrice, and Rosalind?
Children of the “swinging sixties”, young women in the mid-seventies, the threesome reappear in the nineties, and age over twenty-five years to the moment when Paddy – and what a delight it is to be reacquainted with Paddy – suggests to Rosalind that she spends her retirement writing a book “about us”. My dread, the death scenes, could be pushed aside?
All of Lesley Hayes’ writing is incredible. Accurate settings our mothers talked of leading to nudges of half-remembered facts and onward to the EU Referendum build-up. Some of the characters have firm views on everything, rarely agreeing with one another, and others are too troubled with their own affairs to notice unless they impinge violently into their lives.
Most of all, after reading of youngsters and young women, the ageing of Cordelia, Beatrice, and Rosalind is a feat perhaps only a psychotherapist could achieve so brilliantly.
Strange Eventful History has been a long time coming but it was worth the wait and to all those readers who are looking to add a book, or books, to their collection, look no further until you have all the works by Lesley Hayes; they earn both their cost and their place a dozen times over, always there to be reread.