Monday, 20 October 2014

A Place for Us (part 3) by Harriet Evans

review by Maryom

If you've been following my reviews of this so far you'll know that A Place For Us is the story of Winterfold and the Winter family who, for 45 years, have made it their idyllic home; a story that is being published serial-style in four parts. Well, here we are at Part 3. The whole, rather-scattered, family has come together to celebrate Grandmother Martha's 80th birthday ...but she was preparing to reveal a secret that she'd kept for years and which promised to tear the family apart.....

It's getting harder to review these books without giving away the plot, but, suffice it to say, that at the end of part 2 the family were left in shock, thrown into disarray by Martha's revelations and events which followed. Now they have to try to pick up the pieces and rebuild their family unity but the dynamics have all changed; Martha, shaken and confused, is no longer providing the hub around which everyone else revolves, and without her, the other family members seem adrift. This gives a rather different feel to this section of the novel - previously there's been a lot of build up to the birthday celebrations, an expectation of troubles to come; now maybe all that is behind and it's time to heal wounds.
The story also moves backwards into the secrets of David's early years. It's been hinted before that he didn't have a happy childhood, that it was a part of his life he was only too happy to leave behind - at last we learn why.

Somehow due to reading only a small portion of the book at once, I've felt throughout more conscious of the design of the story, of the gradual reveals, of how it's shaped and paced - moving forwards, then backwards, working up to each big reveal and ending each section on a 'cliffhanger'. I'm not sure I'd have noticed these things if I'd had the whole book available at one sitting - I'd probably just have dashed straight through to find out how things end. 

I'm still inclined to believe there are more secrets to come pouring out of the woodwork before the Winter clan can look forward to a happy ending, but fortunately there isn't long to wait for the fourth and final part - out on 23rd October.

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

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