As a teenager, Margo ran away from home to live with her older boyfriend, Richard. Their love affair continued, they married and had three daughters - Rachel, Imogen, and Sasha. Then one day Richard left, leaving Margo plunged into despair, and the girls having to fend for themselves. When she picked herself up, Margo vowed that her girls would never suffer as she had. So she brings them up to be well-educated, strong career women, to marry safe, dependable men, to create for themselves the life that she would have wanted, but somewhere long the way the girls, trying so hard to live up to Margo's expectations, lose sight of themselves and their own desires. Now young women, each successful in her field, they have to confront the impact of their father's sudden disappearance from their lives before they can find true happiness.There's been a lot of hype about The Garnett Girls - the author is, after all, a publicist - but it's a stunning, captivating debut that definitely lives up to everything I've read about it. A warm, intimate story of the Garnett family - Margo the matriarch, and her girls, Rachel, Imogen, and Sasha - their loves and losses, the secrets they keep, and the younger generation's struggles for independence from their mother's overwhelming influence and expectations. In many ways, living up to Margo's standards has stunted her daughters' emotional development, and I felt it was telling that Rachel, Imogen and Sasha are more often seen as a trio - the Garnett girls - rather than as individuals and as women.
The story is not wholly set on the Isle of Wight but Sandcove, the family home, plays such an important part in the Garnett's lives that it's like a character in itself. It's the place they come to to settle family disagreements, to heal, to find themselves, to party on the beach till dawn.
I loved every page - and I now want to live by the beach and drink cocktails every night.