Posted in Books I have read

A Place For Us – Harriet Evans

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

Winterfold is a beautiful old and rambling house, home to David and Martha Winter. In celebration of her eightieth birthday Martha sends out an invitation calling on her children to a party followed by a family lunch where she is set to reveal a secret.

This is a good old fashioned family saga, complete with eccentric characters and even a dog and enough secrets to keep the pages turning. David is a famous illustrator whose biggest ambition was to show the world the reality of London during the war, with the exposed houses and the broken men and women who lived in them, instead he has been producing cartoons about Wilbur (the dog) ever since his eldest daughter, Daisy was six.

Martha had been forced to leave her artistic ambitions behind as a young woman with three children, Daisy, Florence and Bill, to make Winterfold a home full of laughter and happiness, in sharp contrast to the couple’s early life.

As in all good family sagas over the years disagreements and conflicting priorities have meant that the family has fractured. Daisy has rarely been seen having left her daughter Cat to be bought up by David and Martha, Florence is an academic with a somewhat lonely life, leaving only Bill a doctor close by.

The story flowed along, with multiple viewpoints and time periods adding layers of detail and background to the secret that Martha feels she can no longer keep. With a splash of romance, more than a few misunderstandings and some darker moments there was plenty to keep me entertained. This book was originally published in four parts and whereas by the end of the first part I definitely wanted to keep reading, I’m not sure whether I’d have been as motivated to continue after part two. Maybe I prefer my books as one but I got the feeling that there was an artificial cliff-hanger inserted at this point which didn’t feel quite natural. Unusually with a book of this style although I was most interested in David’s backstory, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any of the other characters, although I left still wanting to understand Daisy more. Bill and Florence had their quirks and the younger generation had strong story-lines but Cat’s in particular didn’t really stand up to close inspection. That said I didn’t ever feel the story dragged, the pace was good (except for the forced ends to each of the parts) and there was plenty to ponder over as I put the book down to go to sleep.

I’m not sure this really bears comparison to Maeve Binchy’s books, hers do tend to be more heart-warming whereas this was a little grittier which is not necessarily a bad thing! I’d be more than a little tempted to pick up whatever Harriet Evans produces next but preferably if it was designed as one book and not four.

I’d like to thank the publishers Headline for allowing me to read this book in return for this honest review. This book was published in one volume in January 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (March 18)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week.

In a change of genre I am currently reading A Place For Us by Harriet Evans

A Place for Us

Blurb

The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day.
So opens A Place for Us by Harriet Evans, a book you’ll dive into, featuring a family you’ll fall in love with … and never want to leave. If you devour Rosamund Pilcher and Maeve Binchy and have discovered Jojo Moyes, you’ll be thrilled to add Harriet Evans to your collection of favourite authors.
The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.
The hall is cool after the hot summer’s day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.
Yet something makes you suspect life here can’t be as perfect as it seems.
After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.
But wouldn’t you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?
Welcome to Winterfold.
Martha Winter’s family is finally coming home. Bookbridgr

I have just finished The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths where I had an enjoyable time catching up with Ruth Galloway’s investigation into a body found in the cockpit of a WWII plane. This should have been straightforward but the pilot’s body was found during the war so whose body is this?

The Ghost Fields

My review will follow shortly but you can read the opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

Next I plan to read Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall. I have been waiting for another book by this talented author for quite some time so this book is being read with a high level of anticipation.

Humber Boy B

Blurb

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity.
Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the
secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here