The Summer of the Bear, By Bella Pollen

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The Independent Culture

Ex-fashionista turned bestselling novelist, Bella Pollen returns to the troubles of childhood with a fable-like story set on an island in the Outer Hebrides.

Following the death of her husband in mysterious circumstances, Letty Fleming relocates her three children from Cold War Bonn to a remote Scottish island. The youngest son, refusing to give up the ghost, is convinced that his father will return.

This might be fertile subject matter enough, but somewhere on the coast a hungry bear is hiding out in a darkened cave - a mythic creature that looms large in the young boy's imagination.

Not the easy-going beach read you might expect, this eccentrically conceived novel requires patience to crack. Once the storyline settles, it's hard not to be drawn in.