RAF officers Susan and Mark and a young ferryman, Robert, steer their different ways through work, friendships, families and aloneness. Susan is trying to focus on her career, while Mark's priority is Susan. The death of Susan's father throws the couple's romantic and family relationships into different perspectives as Robert ploughs on across the river, questioning his feelings about his absent family and his ability to be independent.
On January 31st 1953 the disastrous East Coast floods change the shape of the estuary overnight. The ensuing devastation brings new challenges, new opportunities, new decisions.
A rich, often lyrical and thoroughly well researched story which is both an historical evocation and a rewarding novel about place - both in the geographical sense and in the sense of "belonging". There is a delicate precision in the writing and real emotional sensitivity in the plot."
Extract from The Estuary
From the air a pilot would see how the thin Deben makes its way towards the southwest and then suddenly turns to the southeast before opening itself wide before it runs out of land and into the sea. On a triangular piece of land to the north of the estuary he would notice a manor house and eight tall masts; to the south an untidy collection of low buildings near the shore, a boatyard and two squat Martello towers; he would see a huge bar of shingle across the mouth of the Deben. If he waited for a winter to pass he would notice how the shape of the bar and the colours of the water changed.
From higher up it would look different. If he flew at sunset or sunrise he would see the tapering waterlines of the Stour, Orwell, Deben, Ore and Alde reaching into the land from the polished sea like liquid flickering flames.