Lucy’s mother died when she was thirteen, so when she marries Ollie Goodwin she’s hoping to develop a warm relationship with her mother in law Diana. Diana proves a pretty prickly customer, however, and by the time three children have arrived things are not good between them. One source of contention is money. Diana and cheerful husband Tom are wealthy and while Tom is happy to help out, Diana is firmly of the opinion that Ollie and his sister Nettie should rely on their own resources. This becomes a problem when Ollie wants to start a business and Nettie wants help with IVF.
The book is written in then and now sequences and through flashbacks we understand where Lucy and Diana are coming from. Diana didn’t have an easy time as a young woman and had to toughen up quickly. As is always the case, nature and nurture form character that in turn affects future generations. One excellent aspect of the novel is that the relationship between Lucy and Diana evolves after reaching a low point, becoming nurturing and even affectionate. The family faces various dramas but the big one comes with Diana’s death. It looks like euthanasia but is it? Certain things don’t add up and the police become involved.
The novel starts OK and improves as it goes along. I have a problem when a character says “I have done xyz” when people would normally say “I’ve ...”. While we’re being picky, I don’t think a woman of Diana’s vintage would say “There’s two pieces of advice ...”. She would say “There’re ...” or write it out in full: “There are ...”. Plural nouns need plural verbs. Yes I know “There’s” is used all the time now but not so much by older folk who learnt grammar. Good story though: well-plotted with well-realised characters who evoke an emotional response.
I've read all of Sally's books and like the previous ones, it was a joy to read. Firstly, being set in Victoria where I grew up, I could easily identify with the locations and the culture of the settings in which the story takes place. But more importantly, despite my relationship with my Mother-in-law always being pretty good, I know from my own experience, that it could occasionaly be a little tense, but that she always, always wanted her son and I only ever to be happy....and for that I am so grateful. Thank you Sally, for reminding me of that!
Sally has once again produced a ripper read, a page turner that kept me guessing until the end.
I loved the story but even more, I loved how relatable this one was. The kids especially, behave exactly like me and the family interactions are the same too (IPad, NOW!). The Brighton and Sorrento houses are all too familiar(sadly not in my family).
Finally, I enjoyed seeing the mother in law relationship from both perspectives. As always, insightful and heartwarming.
Loved this book. Sally writes so well and I love how her characters seem so real. Loved Diane the mother in law and Lucy the daughter in law. The story was well written and loved how I was surprised with the ending. Which was great as I usually figure it out, but I didn’t with this one. Looking forward to book no 6 now.
This was a great read and had me captivated from the first page...nothing was clear until nearly the end of the book, well done to Sally Hepworth, she's a master storyteller and I look forward to reading more of her books!
I could relate to this book so well particularly as I am a mother-in-law a few times over and have had to tread that very fine line to ensure family peace. It is so easy to misinterpret the words and actions of others and this was demonstrated so well in this book. Loved it.
I loved this book, my first from Sally Hepworth. It was a good storyline, told in an easy to read format. I don’t usually like the switching of time periods but this worked well, it flowed beautifully. I’m just going to buy the rest of her books, I enjoyed her writing so much.
This story was riveting. I found going from the past to the present and back again a little irritating. I loved how there was more than one character speaking in the first person. Always good to have different perspectives.