From the coauthor of the international best seller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
"I can't stand this poky little town any more. How can I bear it for three more months? Today alone has lasted years...."
Disinherited by her father, the debutante Miss Layla Beck is forced to spend the hot summer of 1938 in Macedonia, West Virginia, and is tasked with recording the small town's history. She arrives with one goal: to get out as quickly as possible.
Macedonia's history seems simple enough - brief and uneventful. Then Layla meets the Romeyns: Jottie, Willa, Felix, Emmett, a family at once entertaining, eccentric, seductive and inextricably bound up in Macedonia's biggest secret.
It's a secret all the townsfolk have a stake in, and as Layla delves into town legend, hidden truths emerge that reveal an altogether different history, one that has left hearts and lives broken. Layla soon realises that some secrets should stay hidden forever.
"Annie Barrows leaves no doubt that she is a storyteller of rare caliber, with wisdom and insight to spare. She is at her best here. Every page rings like a bell." (Paula McLain, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife)
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A nice book
What I liked about the book:
The story revolves around interesting and well developed female characters. They are well drawn, have complicated inner lives and experience real dilemmas you can identify with. The relationships between female and male protagonists are well thought of and often manage to avoid the common cliches.
The book features good descriptions of America in the Great Depression. The historical atmosphere is really well captured and well integrated into the story. The author has done a lot of research, but she does not wave it in your face. Rather, all the historical details are blending seamlessly into the story.
What I didn't like about the book:
The major plot twist wasn't really a twist and could be spotted from miles ahead. Three quarters of the book build up to this dramatic moment, but you know it's coming and you know what the "big secret" is, way before it is finally "revealed."
The voice that narrates Willa, one of the main protagonist, is one of the most annoying voices in the world and the poorest attempt ever to impersonate a child. Willa is supposed to be a likeable and sympathetic character, but the narration pretty much ruined this and turned me against her. Same goes for the voice that narrates Felix.