I really like Sarah Catherine Knights’ books and Aphrodite’s Child is no exception in terms of it being a good read with a clear purpose and direction.
Emily and her husband, Luke arrive in Cyprus with their two young children after Luke has been posted there with the British Royal Air Force. It is a strange world very different from the life that they have all left behind in Britain. Cyprus is hot with an abundance of beaches and the chance of a much more alfresco lifestyle, almost like being on holiday every day. Emily is concerned about how she will fit in and make friends but she soon discovers that the world of the armed forces is quite contained, being centred on the “camp” where they live, the accommodation and facilities that are provided by the British government for their military abroad. The same people are encountered over and over again and this is both a curse and a blessing.
Emily struggles at first to fill her days as the children are at school but she soon finds activities to fill her day, of an outdoorsy and athletic nature like polo and windsurfing. And the evenings are as entertaining as it is a life almost verging on hedonism, there being frequent parties with free-flowing booze and dancing into the early hours of the morning. Her confidence grows as her time there continues and she finds herself acting in ways that she never thought she would, endangering all that she holds dear.
Emily is our narrator throughout and so, we follow her as she grows into her life in Cyprus. One of the strengths of this is that we develop empathy for her as she constantly battles between what she thinks she should (or shouldn’t) do and her struggles to reconcile the person who she has become with the wife and mother role which she values. However, having read other books written by Knights, I did not feel that the characters were as well developed or as vivid as they have been in her other books. I did not feel as emotionally invested in the action and read it with more detachment than I have done other novels I have read by her.
Saying this, it is well-written throughout and is still an easy read, perfect to curl up with on a cosy Autumn evening.