Book Review of Two Steps Forward

The Camino is a point of fascination for me.  Like many (so many in fact that it is even mentioned in this book), I saw the film The Way and become fascinated with the concept of this pilgrimage and the capacity of this particular walk to change the lives and perspective of so many.  I’m not religious at all, but sometimes things like these act as opportunities to challenge ourselves and take stock of our lives.  Maybe I will do it one day.

Authors Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist (his wife) have walked The Camino several times and it is these experiences that inspired the writing of Two Steps Forward, the story of two people who at a crossroads in their lives, are drawn to The Camino.  Zoe and Martin, the narrators, each tell their story in alternate chapters, giving their background and beginning their Camino and their relationship with it and each other.  Initially – as in all good stories – they don’t like each other.  But the love story as such is not the focus of this novel, and neither character finds themselves capable of a relationship until they focus on the reason they came to the Camino in the first place.

Martin has designed a cart for walkers that he wants to patent and sell – but it needs a trial.  The longer he walks though, the less this inspires his continued journey.  For Zoe, it is a complete impulse after visiting a friend in France after the death of her husband.  She needs to consider how to frame her life without his steadying hand – even if it was not much of a love match.

It’s endearing to see real human stories and affairs of the heart that surround people who aren’t in the early stages of their lives.  I enjoyed this as a gentle read towards the end of the year.  Worth a look.

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