This is the story of four generations of women:
Lillian – lives in a charming old manor house in coastal Devon. She is in her late eighties and is a renowned writer of mystery novels. Now though, she is experiencing some memory loss and confusion. She is aware of her condition and it troubles her greatly.Poppy – is Lillian’s daughter. She is a self-proclaimed ‘hippie’ and left her own daughter Zoe with Lillian when Zoe was only seven years old. She spent years traveling the world and fell in love. She never returned for her little girl and Zoe has cut herself off from her mother as she is unable to forgive her abandonment and betrayal. Now widowed, Poppy is back in Devon and is forging a new relationship with her mother Lillian. Meanwhile, she runs a shop in the village that sells things like herbal teas and potions and she reads tarot cards.
Zoe – lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her teenage daughter. Divorced for five years, she works as a graphic designer. She is troubled that Isabel has been severely traumatized, but she won’t talk to her about it. When Zoe learns that her best friend from childhood has gone missing in Devon, she takes her daughter to stay with her Gran Lillian. She wants to investigate what happened to her friend Diana, and, she wants her daughter Isabel in a new, safer environment.
Isabel – at fifteen years old, has undergone a traumatic experience at the hands of her supposed friends. All she will tell her mother is that it has to do with social media. She has since closed all her social media accounts and refuses to go to school. She wears layers upon layers of clothes under a baggy hoodie. Isabel is a beautiful girl, a keen photographer and budding writer.
“Every grief brings back all the old ones.”
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these different and very interesting women. All of them had faults, but they are all trying to work through them in their own way.
The book was a blend of women’s fiction and mystery with a dash of love story. In my opinion the cover was misleading. It was stunning, but had little bearing on the story and gave the impression that the story was lighter than it was.
This was a great read with some serious themes of loss, abandonment, betrayal, mothering, atonement, missing persons, forgiveness, courage, and inter-generational relationships. It strives to emphasize the importance of listening, really listening, to those you care about.
The mystery element lent the novel heft, and was well plotted.
I expect this story will be loved by anyone who enjoys well written women’s fiction with a satisfying ending.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley.
Publication date: July 14, 2020 Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
ISBN: 9781542020725 ASIN: B082SXNWX8 352 pages
Barbara O’Neal has written more than a dozen novels of women’s fiction, including several Amazon top-sellers. Her award-winning books have been published in many countries, including France, England, Poland, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Israel, and Hungary.
Barbara is a devoted traveler who has wandered around Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and India, hiking and eating and finding wonder in new cultures. She’s a long-distance walker who has hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain and to the top of Pikes Peak in her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado and has plans to tackle the Coast to Coast in England in the near future.
She lives in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs with her partner, a British endurance athlete who vows he will never lose his accent.