Friday, 17 October 2014

Postcards from the Past by Marcia Willett

review by Maryom

Brother and sister Ed and Billa have 'retired' back to Mellinpons, their childhood home in Cornwall - with their half-brother Dom, living just down the road, they form a tight-knit family unit. But their peaceful, settled life is about to be disturbed by the return of another family member, stepbrother Tris. No one has heard from him for the past 50 years - in fact since he and his father did what might be best described as a 'runner' -  but now he's sending postcards announcing his intention to pay a visit. This isn't likely to be for a happy family reconciliation and his choice of cards seems deliberately chosen to stir up bad memories and open old wounds - so why on earth is he coming back?

This is one of those books that turn up for review out of the blue and don't immediately grab me. Despite 20 novels to her name I'd never heard of the author (oops)  and the cover didn't seem too inviting, promising something in the romantic fiction line, I thought, which isn't really my kind of thing - but anyway I picked it up just to check it out and two/three pages in I was hooked. It opens with the arrival of a postcard to Billa from her step-brother Tris from whom she hasn't heard in many many years - Billa is immediately on her guard - there's obviously bad blood between them and I wanted to know what, why and mostly what his current (evil) plan was.

This is admittedly a gentler sort of read to my normal choices but it teased me on with hints and gradual reveals of past events - and the forewarning that Tris would not be coming back for a good reason, and that his arrival will cause upset and unpleasantness for people it's easy to come to like. Tris isn't a gun-toting villain back for a spree of violence, but he's still a thoroughly unpleasant, manipulative type, out to benefit from Billa and Ed's good nature and willingness to believe the best of others.
With the large country house, interestingly converted from an old butter factory, situated not far from the Cornish coast, filled with a caring family and lovable dogs, the author conjures up the sort of home we probably all would like - therefore it's shocking that someone would wish to disturb such an idyll. Maybe though, at times, everyone just seemed a little too nice to be real.
The ending was perhaps a little predictable, but I still found it all really enjoyable. 

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Corgi/Transworld
Genre - fiction

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