Martin Radford is a floundering, unemployed historian with a dim future who jumps at the chance to research the memoirs of Edwin Strafford, a young Edwardian cabinet minister and contemporary of Churchill and Lloyd George with a promising career that went mysteriously astray. Radford’s own blunders will unfold on this journey as he investigates Strafford’s past in this blended mix of politics, romance and historical thriller.
This reprint of Goddard’s debut novel unfolds in the early part of the twentieth century and late seventies and has maintained a graceful sense of both eras. The plot’s incorporation of a little-known pre-World War I constitutional crisis, the Suffragette movement (which neatly fits in with the women’s movement of the seventies), and well-paced twists makes Past Caring an entertaining page-turner.
Strafford himself, his family and his life’s many secrets and discoveries are by far more noteworthy and remarkable than the markedly tarnished Radford, whose flaws Goddard uses to make him credible if not altogether likable.
I adore a main character I’m not supposed to, and devour a plot that has great tempo and keeps me speculating. Past Caring has all this, plus a lovely sense of history.