Everything Love Is, by Claire King

Everything Love Is, by Claire King

Everything Love Is begins on a train, a delayed train on its way from Spain to Toulouse. A young woman, almost beyond the reach of speech, gives birth in the overwhelming heat of a packed carriage. The baby is born and the mother dies, without name or history.

A lifetime later, and Baptiste is living on a boat, Candice, on the outskirts of Toulouse. He is a counsellor of sorts, helping clients to find happiness. There is a network of fellow boat-dwellers nearby, and a bar where he spends his evenings, chatting to Sophie behind the bar. He is tranquil, content. In the nearby countryside, his parents live their equally tranquil life. Baptiste’s beginnings, that anonymous birth on the train between Barcelona and Toulouse, are significant but not overwhelmingly so. His adoptive mother is all that she needs to be. His one connection to the mother he never knew is a violin which sits in his boat, silent and unplayed. He has never been in love.

Then one day, a new client arrives. Amandine is mysterious and out of reach. She wears green shoes, the same green as the coat his mother, and Baptiste cannot be sure what she is coming for, or how she came to be there. In addition, the end of the summer sees rioting in the streets of Toulouse, the square filled with angry students. Baptiste is dragged unwillingly along, and the threads of his life begin to unravel.

Everything Love Is

 

Everything Love Is is a beautifully balanced book, building a complete world around you as you read.  Baptiste is a quiet man, one who appears to exist without the need of strong emotion. But, just as the time comes when staying moored on the banks of the canal isn’t enough, so also comes a time when risks must be taken with the heart. It’s also a book to repay re-reading, the knowledge you have at the end adding even more depth to the beginning.

Also, as a boat dweller, I can tell you that King gets it absolutely right, inside, outside and along the bank. Fabulous stuff!

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