Friday, 25 July 2014

A Place for Us by Harriet Evans

review by Maryom

Winterfold is a special sort of place - for 45 years it's been the home of Martha and her artist husband David, the place they've brought up their three children, and thrown open to neighbours for Christmas celebrations, Summer garden parties, Bonfire Night fireworks. The children are now all grown; Daisy out in India involved in charity work; Florence, a professor of art history in Florence; only the eldest, Bill, now the local GP, has stayed close to home. But Martha's 80th birthday is approaching and she's decided that will be the ideal occasion to gather them back together - and spill some long-held family secrets. 

As you can guess this is a family saga where the real state of their lives lies hidden behind a smiling fa├žade. It opens with a fantastic attention-grabbing first line - "The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day" - that had me just longing to know what she was going to do, what she'd reveal and, above all, why. I'm still on tenterhooks though for this novel is being published as a first four-part e-book serial - the first part now (31st July), the others to follow at monthly intervals - and then the whole story in a paperback edition in January 2015.
Part One has set the scene brilliantly with a dispersed family, each hugging their own secrets that you know are all going to come tumbling out and shake their world; some of them I warmed to and sympathised with, some I didn't - just like real families. So far I'm loving it - great characters, a plot to hook me and a promise of more secrets to be unearthed. But just as I was getting really immersed in their world it ended - and on a revelation that shook my whole view of what I'd read so far.
Now I'm desperately waiting for Part 2! 

Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Headline Review
Genre - adult fiction, family saga

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