21 August 2014 – Now revealed to be “A Place For Us” by Harriet Evans (@HarrietEvans)
I like to know a little about what I’m going to read. And by whom it’s written.
So, to pick up this novel by an unnamed author and with no clues as to the storyline or, indeed, the genre, was going against my instinct. My only clue was the author is female and the story was likely to be the type of novel I usually take a wide berth of.
The book grabbed me early on; the premise of an older couple planning a family reunion in their much loved home, Winterfold, at which they plan to reveal a long held secret was intriguing and a little exciting. Their secret and it’s revelation was extremely well paced and plotted. Having said that, there are more than one secrets awaiting revelation in this story!
The chapters told from each family members viewpoint and the flashbacks to earlier times really helped to build a sense of tension and mystery for me. The dynamics between the characters and family members was also interesting and, I found, quite believable. I rather liked all the characters, especially Cat and Joe; although Lucy, initially a little annoying, grew on me as she developed later in the story. I am still a little unsure of how to take Florence. Do I like her? I certainly felt for her but, like? I don’t know.
I particularly liked the part that the family home held as a fulcrum around which the characters revolved and reacted. Winterfold, the house, is a powerful part of this story and felt it held the same stature as Manderlay does in “Rebecca”, although not as malevolent.
Despite my initial reservations and despite this being a novel that I would generally avoid as “chic-lit”, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a brief period around 100 pages in where I thought “Is this for me?” but I kept on going and was fully rewarded by an engrossing story of family love, loyalty, betrayals and hope.
The final chapter had me, almost, a little teary at the eyes. Almost but not quite – because I am a chap and we chaps don’t do that stuff. Having said that, I didn’t think us chaps liked these type of books either!
Obviously, I know nothing!