Summer friendship in the North Riding.
The Offing is a gentle novel about the developing friendship between a young man and an older woman. It’s set just after the Second World War near Robin Hood’s Bay in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
The young man, Robert Appleyard, seems destined to work in the Durham coalfields; the older woman, Dulcie Piper, thinks he should show more ambition, and introduces him to literature—and to fine food and drink. The third main character is absent throughout: Dulcie’s former lover Romy Landau, a German poet, whose final unpublished collection Robert uncovers. The collection contains a hidden message to Dulcie.
Unlike Myers’s previous novels, there are no villains, no murders, but plenty of sunshine and friendship. It turns out he’s just as good at ‘comfort reading’ as he is at grim and bleak.
Disclosure: I have met local author Ben Myers several times, and we follow each other on various social media.