South African Salvationists have a link with St Helena which most South Africans don’t have. The Salvation Army in St Helena falls under the coymmand of the Southern Africa Territory, not the UK, so most Salvationists have heard stories from officers stationed there.
Remote, a story of St Helena, is a modern day tale of a woman who falls in love with the island, spends holidays there and eventually buys a house there where she lives for ten years amongst much speculation about the forthcoming airport (operational since July 2015).
The book mentions The Salvation Army, very briefly, the first time on page 22 and then once more later when talking about Christmas carolling. But it was the mention of the cockroaches which had me mindful of Brigadier Brewin promising the Home League ladies a “recipe for cockroaches”. She noticed that they seemed very restless that morning, but it was only when she gave them a recipe for icing sugar and borax to deter the cockroaches that they relaxed and laughed. They had thought that she was suggesting that they cook the cockroaches.
The mentions of the radio station and Half Tree Hollow had me thinking of Majors Howard and Myra Sercombe who told tales of him going up there to do broadcasts and then just leaving the key somewhere – the lack of crime being a major factor in their telling of this story.
I enjoyed the rather long 460 page story immensely and learned something about the island, and about Lindsay Grattan Cooper’s own family, of course. It was not a quick read, though, taking me several weeks to work my way through it, unlike her first book, My Kind of Music, a novel which I zipped through in a weekend (also a long book).
The author has an easy style of writing, always very correct, and I would not hesitate to buy any future books from her pen.
- Title: Remote
- Subtitle: A story of St Helena
- Author: Lindsay Grattan Cooper
- Publisher: Porcupine Press
- Place: Johannesburg South Africa
- Date: 2015
- Recommended Price: Unknown (I received a complimentary copy)
- ISBN: 978-1-920609-85-6