Title: Our Endless Numbered Days
Author: Claire Fuller
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Review Copy
Rating: Liked it (3 out of 5)
In 1976, when Peggy was 8 years old, her father James took her to a remote cottage in Germany. He was a survivalist. The world, he told her, had ended and they were the last two people on earth.
The cottage is run down, hemmed in by rivers and forests, and the pair live alone, barely making it through the first winter but finally figuring how to survive. Their world is small and their lives routine but for the most part, Peggy seems initially content. Her father, though, is not and his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic until it eventually puts them both at risk. Peggy might not have survived if it hadn’t been for meeting a stranger in the woods.
In 1985, aged 17, Peggy is back home and struggling to come to grips with the world she thought had been destroyed and live with the mother she thought had died and the brother she never knew she had.
The story of then and now alternate, providing suspense as I wondered how Peggy ended up back at home and just what happened to her father. This is the debut novel of Claire Fuller and I think she did a good job at this, although the twist at the end I did see coming. She also did a good job developing the characters, especially how James slowly lost the plot.
Where I struggled a little was I felt the last third was rushed. The build up to the running away was great and the time in cottage, how Peggy and James managed to survive, really drew me in. I could picture the harshness of their first winter and the beauty of the summer, of how it felt to live with nature. Then, suddenly, Ute (her mother) was sharing bombshells and the book was over. I wanted more and so was left feeling a little cheated. Still, an enjoyable read and really good debut.
Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest reviews. All opinions are my own.