When Rachel is left jilted at the altar by Claude, she returns to her family home. But with her father’s recent death, Rachel has to try to get by with living under the same roof as her mother, Eleanor. Theirs has always been a difficult relationship and time and distance haven’t improved things. When further tragedy strikes, Rachel begins to uncover secrets about her mother’s past that threaten to undo everything she has ever known.
Although Emma Kennedy has written both non-fiction and a novel set in World War II, this is her first foray into contemporary fiction and she is an absolute natural in this genre. With a dual narrative, depicting both Rachel’s present-day story and Eleanor’s past in the 1960s, she brilliantly weaves together two engaging and interesting storylines to create a broader narrative about family and identity.
Kennedy’s writing is superbly evocative, both in recreating the headiness of Soho in the Swinging Sixties and the sedateness of rural Lincolnshire, and there is a special quality to this book that makes it feel like a really warming and comforting autumnal read. My one tiny criticism is that I would have loved the epilogue to have been slightly longer, as I so wished to share more of that final scene, but in truth it’s partly because I didn’t want this lovely story to end! (JC)