How far back do you need to go to find the seed that was planted that lead to an event? Liza Klaussmann tells us a story that starts in 1946 with two young cousins preparing for a new life following the end of the war and ends with an event some twenty-five years later.
Nick is off to Florida to meet her husband Hughes whilst Helena is off to marry Avery in Hollywood, a man summed up by her cousin as a charlatan. Along the way both women have a child each, Daisy is the daughter of Nick whilst Helena has a son Ed. Nick and Helena have the sanctuary of Nick’s family home Tiger House to meet up in the summer with their two children.
I enjoyed the structure of this book as it spans the years 1945 to 1969 told from five characters viewpoints: Nick, Daisy, Helena, Hughes and finally Ed. This was done well with the story building up in layers as we get a clear picture of some of the events, not least the murder of a maid which took place. I felt the story started fairly strongly with an insight into what life for a housewife was like in the late 40’s and early 50’s, especially for one who expected her life to be one big adventure. What wasn’t so good was that the next three parts are fairly tedious in places with little happening except an awful lot of drinks being made and served. The characters simply weren’t very nice or may I say, terribly interesting most of the time. Section five picks up the pace and I enjoyed this part the most but ultimately the ends should be tied together at this point, and they were partially, but there were so many of them that this was less of a neat knot and more of a half unravelled piece of knitting.
This was not the historical novel that I expected, there are some events that lead back to the war but this is more a novel about how people deal with the hand that life gives them. The book does offer contrasting views of how these characters filled the gaps between their expectations of life and the reality but as I hadn’t really connected with any of them this felt more contrived than it should have done.
An ambitious debut novel which had a lot of potential but fell a little flat for this reader.
I received my copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for this impartial review.