It was their own journey on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the famous pilgrims’ walk through France and Spain, that prompted husband and wife writer duo, Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, and Anne Buist, to write Two Steps Forward. But it’s the magic of the journey and its ages old pull that sustains the novel and is the backdrop for a tale of self discovery and love. Told primarily through the perspectives of Zoe and Martin, a recently widowed artist and a divorced British engineer, the book takes the reader on the journeys of individuals trekking the pilgrims route, all of whom are looking for something, whether they know it or not.
It’s said the Camino de Santiago de Compostela changes its wayfarers irrevocably. And our characters are changed. They find what they are looking for in their own lives, with the support of one another.
It’s rare to find a love story focused on characters in middle age rather than the throes of young lust. The maturity of the characters affords Simsion and Buist space to explore other themes such as family, health and careers. Despite the length of the trek the journey is sometimes chalustrophic for the characters, but the writing never feels this way.
Two Steps Forward won’t change your life in the same way that the Camino de Santiago changed the lives of both the characters and the authors, but it will grab your interest and intrigue, and perhaps encourage you to consider your own journey and where you are going.