If you follow Inkpots on either Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I am a huge fan of Nicola Penfold’s writing. So, the arrival of her second book, ‘Between Sea and Sky’ was eagerly anticipated, and I’m delighted to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
Like Nicola’s first book, ‘Where the World turns Wild’, ‘Between Sea and Sky’ is set in the near future. It’s a world where a series of environmental disasters has left most of the land under water. Nat lives on the land with his mum, a scientist. Together with his band of friends they live out their young lives under the strict rules and regulations which are placed on everyone to ensure some kind of existence.
But the summertime takes Nat out to sea as his mum’s work leads them to an oyster fam which is the home of Pearl and her younger sister Clover. They live on their floating home with their dad; the death of their mum a few years before has left Pearl with many suspicions about the mainland and its people.
Nat’s arrival upsets the balance of the girls’ lives in more ways than one. Their seemingly idyllic life is in stark contrast to all the restrictions Nat has to live under. But Nat brings a secret to the farm and slowly even Pearl gets drawn into keeping it.
This is a beautiful story with a strong ecological message. It has a poignancy about the need for adults to trust children and an urgency because all the talk is not helping a diminishing planet.
Above all, for me Nicola’s books carry with them a wonderful sense of place. I could almost smell the tang of the sea and hear the haunting sounds of deserted shorelines. There’s the wistfulness of abandoned buildings and the stories they tell, a sombre wind whistling through parts of the story.
Nicola is a natural storyteller of great depth. We should all read her books.
Also, take a moment to admire Kate Forrester‘s beautiful cover too.