I chose this book as I like dual time-line stories and this one has the twenties for the past and I am fascinated by the period sandwiched between the two wars. The stories shared are those of Emma, a ballerina who travels the world and Beattie, her Grandmother, a young woman, living in Glasgow in straightened circumstances.
Emma has it all, a nice apartment in London, a long-term relationship with Josh and her career as a famous ballerina when she is forced to take stock following an accident. She returns to her mother in Australia and is given the news that she has inherited Wildflower Hill from her Grandmother. As she starts to clear out the house still packed with Beattie’s belongings she finds a photo that leads her to discover more about her Grandmother’s life.
When the story opens in 1929, Beattie is living in Glasgow with her idealistic father and her downtrodden mother when she is introduced to a man who will alter her life forever.
Not only is this story set between different time-periods but their stories criss-cross between Scotland, England and Australia as we follow their trials and tribulations. For me Beattie’s story was the more compelling of the two as she battles many of life’s injustices, heeding her friend Cora’s words:
“There are two types of women in this world, those who do things and those who have things done to them.”
As the story switches from sleazy clubs to sheep-farming in Australia; from domestic servitude to success and we see Beattie ostracised for being a woman who didn’t follow the social dictates of the time.
Beattie’s story is far more interesting as she battles against the odds as the reader is constantly reminded that Emma’s life as a ballerina was a cossetted existence, because of this she was selfish until she goes to Wildflower Hill and learns more about her Grandmother’s life and appreciates those around her and takes the time to reassess her life and her values.
There were a couple of places in the book where the timing of events were muddled which should have been captured prior to going to print but these were minor and didn’t spoil the flow of this tale that touches on a number of issues that a woman such of Beattie would have encountered. There were some lovely touches where the narrative linked the two women’s lives however, I didn’t feel Wildflower Hill compared directly to Kate Morton’s books, as the publicity suggests. because although this is a dual time zone tale it didn’t have the same element of mystery. As book with two linked stories this made for an enjoyable foray into not only a different time period but also cross continents.