This novel that was written by Ian McEwans in 2007, is an emotion-filled story about the romance of a young couple, Edward Mayhew an ardent historian graduate, and Florence Ponting the tremulous lead violinist in a string quartet with aspirations to Wigmore Hall. They are 22 years old, attractive and good looking.

It tells the story of a couple that fell in love at first sight. The plot centres on their wedding night, at the beginning of the 1960s and takes place in a  Georgian hotel, beside Chelsin Beach. They have just got married in Oxford. Like all married couples in love they believe they will be making a new life.

Gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth, Edward and Florence, free at last ! Because since they got married they would not have to explain to anybody else about of their decided to do.

However they live in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible, in a world that belongs to the Americans and the Russians. While Florence, would rather thay anyone never touch her, because she hate that anyone touch her even this man she loves, on the other hand, Edward dreams fervently , silently of the ininterrupted pleasure that will be theirs now, the “wrangle over the ring” has been started.

However surprisingly,  both Edward and Florence think that she is frigid, so that in their meeting moments she is cold, while he is passionate.

McEwa’s real subject in this novel, is the way the smallest incident can have lifelong consequences, like it seems happen in this  disastrous honeymoon evening in Chelsin Beach. The author’s skillful, is the perfect-word at handing the awkward comedy of this relationship, turning it into something far more disturbing when the honeymoon night gets to the end. This is a skillful construted novel where the writing is wonderfully observed, its language is  full of descriptive adjectives slightly elaborated,  and it is  packed with lovely moments and well drawn characters.

McEwans manages to depict the night so vividly and sympathetically that there is no temptation to laugh. Although the details all seem rather arbitrary, since the moment the author do not explain the cause why Florence has a sexual problem . It is an extremely readable novel, and so gripping that I could not put it down.

M.Belén Pico


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