Have you ever read a book that gave you a real sense of impending dread and heartbreak by the second or third chapter? Perhaps it’s because I am in my current ‘condition’, but I felt so stricken by Eve’s story.
Eve has met and married a man — Tommy Car — who is very kind, and they set up house together. (Tangent: a reviewer on Goodreads described its setting as Yorkshire / Northern England, but as I read it, I was thinking, this is Scotland. But anyway.) They try and try for a baby, while Eve’s sister keeps popping them out.
Finally, Eve and Tommy have a baby, but their joy doesn’t last long. Eve faces a real tug of war between her role as a wife and sister — her sister is incredibly bitter about her own lot and doesn’t hesitate to make it Eve’s issue.
Being a Susan Hill novel (I assume, as I’ve only read one other of her works), there is an unexplained supernatural element to A Kind Man, but it’s more a vehicle to further explore Tommy’s kindness.
This is a short novel, and it kind of feels to me like it’s about karma. The story has been told with economy and a lightness of touch, which probably helped me not cry, but the experience I had while reading wasn’t any less strong.