Reviewed by Sarah Wallis
At first glance, this book does not make you think of a story about a family relocating to the heat of Northern Cyprus, however I really enjoyed following what turned out to be a turbulent year for Jack Durham, Mary and their children. Set in the late ‘70’s, in a time before “making a fresh start” was not part of a weekly series on the TV, nor were there shelves full of books recounting the “adventures” of families setting up a new life in France, Italy or Spain.
The ‘70s was a time of naivety and freedom, without the technology of today, when a ‘Telex’ was the most advanced form of communication. In my opinion, having the Internet, Email and Mobile Phones would have made this a very different story.
Jack is the principal character in the story, and we follow a journey that is full of ups and downs, living through the challenges that were to be faced by a man taking his hard working no-nonsense work-ethic from a British shipyard to a country that had been subjected to so much recent violence and political upheaval, and the way to get things done was very different to back home, it soon becomes clear to Jack that it is about the connections you do, or more importantly don’t have.
We are given a glimpse into the business dealings that Jack has to get involved in, and how the friendships are made and used along the way. I did find myself wanting to know more about Mary and their girls’ lives. However, the situations that Jack deals with and how he and Mary handle the twists and turns, make you wish you had been a fly on the wall.
The style of writing was very engaging, and I found it easy to imagine each of the different places we are taken to as part of their year away.
I was puzzled by the title of the book, and couldn’t understand why it was called 66 US Dollars – all became clear in the conclusion, and made for a satisfying ending to the new beginning that was in store for Jack, Mary and their family.
A very enjoyable and easy read, It is always good to dream about the heat of anywhere when you are having to dig your own car out of snow on the drive!
RRP: £10.99 (paperback), £14.99 (hardback)
Available to buy from Austin Macauley here.