This caught mine eye at the market because of the title; i thought at first that “Salt Spring” was one word, so i picked it up for a closer look, realised it wasn’t, but then also realised that it was about Saltspring anyway, so bought it. It’s a very simple book, simple writing style, and neither the plot nor characters are especially complex. This isn’t always a good thing, i have to confess, as i found it a bit lacking to hold mine interest; i read the whole thing, but i’m not sure i’d read another by the same author, unless i could reasonably anticipate a bit more to it.
It seems rather in the line of James Herriot’s Yorkshire vet books, in that it appears to be a fictionalised (as far as i can tell) for effect story of the life of Conover and his wife and family as they moved from a small Gulf Island to Saltspring at some undefined point in the late ’50s or early ’60s. Conover doesn’t seem to have the same easy, flowing sense of humour that Herriot did, or maybe life on Saltspring didn’t have so much in the way of the unexpected as that of a Dales vet in the Depression, and i find that though there is humour in the book, and actually capacity for more than is in fact here, it is not a strong enough part of the mix to grab the attention.
To be quite honest, i’m not really sure what appeal this book has, other than the local one (i know the area, a little), or at most the national one (here is a Canadian author, published by a Canadian company ~ always been big marketing points in Canada, i’m afraid). There is no real hook that grabs the reader, pulls him in, and makes him say, “I’ve got to get the others of Conover’s books” (this is the third in a series). And, for that, i’m rather sorry, because, in the end, being Canadian alone isn’t sufficient.