Under Review

Kathy Page

Dear Evelyn

Authors

Kathy Page’s latest novel Dear Evelyn explores a 70-year marriage between two seemingly incompatible individuals at a time of social upheaval and change. Loosely based on actual letters sent from Page’s father to her mother during the Second World War, Dear Evelyn paints a portrait of how love can endure and be tested, told in a way that is tender and sometimes difficult to bear.

Harry Miles is a kind, mild mannered young man from a working class family who has a deep love of poetry and knowledge but an unknown future ahead of him. Evelyn Hill is a tenacious girl with a good heart but sometimes harsh tongue, and a clear picture of the life ahead of her. From their first meeting on the steps of the Battersea Library in London, it is clear that Harry and Evelyn are meant to be because, despite their obvious differences, the magnetism between them is palpable, even when they can only connect with each other via writing. Their brief courtship leads to a lifetime together that is at times wonderfully caring and at other times challenging, most notably during Harry’s service during the war. It is their correspondence during this time in the form of letters and small gifts that offer a glimpse into Harry’s intense love for Evelyn, even amid the grisly facts of war and as Evelyn’s growing resentments are taken out on him.

Dear Evelyn reads so vividly that I found myself feeling the characters every frustration and moment of bliss as if they were sharing themselves. I could envision the homes they built and the gardens tended to with love. I felt the grief when friends passed away and the challenges of raising their children.

Kathy Page has written something beautiful and harrowing with Dear Evelyn. Her characters are so relatable and their situations are told in a way that doesn’t rely on sweeping story arcs or heavy detail in order to be effective. It is a fairly simple story of two fairly normal people who fall in love just like many of us do. What is special about this tale is that it highlights what we will do for love, what we sacrifice, and the many small details that can become our undoing.

The Gathering

ReTRANSMISSION eP

Authors

Looking for a band that can bring you the authentic ‘80s dance floor sound you crave? The Gathering conjure up shimmers of bands like Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Echo and the Bunnymen. ReTransmission is well-named, alluding to sound waves bouncing around the universe through time and back again, and The Gathering’s dark wave / goth pop songs hit just the right frequency.

The band originally formed in 1986 with two members from local heroes, Cast of Thousands, who had their own hit in 1983 with “On the QT.” This new release is a remix of four songs The Gathering recorded and produced with the talented Glen Reely (ex-French Letters). “Let It Shine” and “Hunter” received heavy airplay on CiTR 101.9FM after the original release in 1988. Now the band returns, with two entrancing new videos and all the original members: Peter Burns (vocals / bass), Gary Economy (guitar / vocals), Jeff Pawson (synth / vocals) and Dave Goodman (drums). The Gathering sounds better than ever with original songs that combine romanticism, moody atmospherics and up-tempo beats.  

A kind of alchemy goes into creating a sound; in this case, it is the combination of the musicians, the production and a genuine love for and mastery of all aspects of the genre and era. The guitar is central and soars through “Let It Shine,” a sweet-at-the-core love song addressed to a perfect heartthrob. As good songs can, this one lets the listener imagine that person is You. The singer’s voice is low, sexy and resonant, think the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. This is mood music to throw on before a night out, perfect for the ride there, and perfect out at the club.  

Even the downbeat song, “This Hell” isn’t depressing, because the band manages throughout the EP to evoke a resonance that is mysterious, shadowy, yet essentially positive. Atmospheric keyboards and driving, locked in bass and drums lend layering that will let you work it all out on the dance floor. Then, before you want it to end, it’s over. Four songs that will leave you wanting more, just in time for the darkest time of year. Pull on your black and revel.