It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him. How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us. Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure? In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences? In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.
Entertaining and Thought Provoking Personal Drama*****
Once again Peter Wells has produced a thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking novel which sheds light on the human condition and contains some excellent characterisations.
The main character Simon has hitherto drifted through life with no clear direction in terms of his personal or career goals. He has had no long term relationships with the opposite sex and is regarded as a disappointment by his well-to-do professional father. His saving grace is his ability to play and teach the piano which just about keeps him financially afloat. Yet one morning, when he arrives at the house of one of his young students, all that is about to change. He is swept into a drama not of his own making, but in which he finds that he has the starring role.
I loved how Peter Wells describes how Simon’s life begins to career out of control as his innate desire to please others and do the right thing wars with his sense of personal freedom. Simon gets into scrape after scrape with not one but two women who desire him. Overnight he is transformed from a man who is almost invisible to one who is a notorious player in one domestic drama after another! There is both dramatic and comedic value in the unfolding story, as Simon struggles to put his own wants and needs aside as he strives to give emotional support to his young pupil Amy and her mother Mrs Cummngs, after Mr Cummings’ infedelity and fall from grace.
His inability to assert what he really wants from life to himself and others leads to drama after drama, provoking hilarious and dire reactions from those around him including Ruth and Amy, the cheating Mr Cummings, his own family, the parents of his pupils and a young woman who begins o see him a completely new light due to his recent elevation from a simple piano teacher to lothario!
Peter Wells’ writing is amazingly well crafted as he delves deep into his characters and we become privy to exactly what makes them tick. There are also entertaining observations on life which are peppered thoughout the novel. Whilst reading it I was prompted to look long and hard at my own life and that of others as I digested his wry observations!
Recommended for readers who enjoy reading about the personal dramas that punctuate and imact upon the lives of those around us, often in unforseen and surprising ways!
Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note, a copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
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