Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Contemporary Drama A Degree Of Uncertainty by Nicola Smith

A Degree of UncertaintyA Degree of Uncertainty by Nicola K. Smith

3.5 stars

A Degree Of Uncertainty is a contemporary drama set in a fictional Cornish town.

Harry Manchester is a local estate agent who heads a campaign to prevent the neighbouring university from expanding, and changing the dynamics of the area. As the residents and local business owners takes sides, the battle that Harry faces begins to affect his personal and business life.

The final decision about the university expansion plan lies with the council and an all-important vote, but what will they decide?

This book is a dedication to the author’s love of this English county. I’m sure other readers will be nodding their heads about some of the impacts that universities and their students have on the towns that surround them. I thought the author’s background in journalism shone through, especially in the sections that dealt with the press.

There’s quite a large cast of characters and I’m afraid I found them hard to connect to, even Harry. I felt that the heavy hand of the author’s experienced report-writing overshadowed the people.  Novels need to be about the characters, first and foremost, before any message that the author wants to put across, but sadly they felt rather one-dimensional, which meant that I didn’t feel fully immersed in their lives.

Overall, this debut story has threads which may be recognised by many small university towns, while the Cornish setting will appeal to those who enjoy this picturesque county.

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Book description

Tensions are rising in the West Cornwall town of Poltowan…

Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto — and many residents and students are relying on him.

But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.

As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least the need to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.

It’s town versus gown, and something’s got to give…

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