Wednesday 29 March 2023

Book Review: The Well of St Nobody by Neil Jordan (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: The Well of St Nobody
Author: Neil Jordan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: 3 August 2023
Pages: 232
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

William Barrow finds himself in lonely retirement in West Cork. Once an internationally renowned pianist, a terrible skin disease has attacked his hands and made it impossible for him to perform.

Tara is a piano teacher with barely enough pupils to pay the month's rent. In the local café, the elegant writing of a job advertisement catches her 'WANTED. HOUSEKEEPER.'

She begins to work in William's house, keeping to herself the knowledge that they have met three times before, encounters that have changed her life. He is oblivious to this, while she spins tales of the well discovered in his back garden and of a mythical saint, of the healing powers of the water and the moss that surrounds it. But as the moss begins to heal William's troubled hands, the lines between legend and reality begin to blur, secrets resurface, and past and present collide in unexpected ways.


The Well of St Nobody started well. I was interested in William and Tara and their relationship. However, once Part Two began, I found my interest waning as the story descended into melodrama. It just all felt too over the top and too sudden after the slow start that focused on the characters and their emotions. In the afterword, the author noted the influence of two films on the story, and I wonder if some of the problem was trying to stitch both sources of inspiration together. Had the story continued in the same vein as Part One throughout, I would likely be giving it four stars, but because of the turn taken in Part Two, it was only a three-star read for me overall.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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