On a crystal clear Mediterranean day, Briony McAllister sits playing with her four-year-old daughter, Katie, while she waits for her mother, Valerie, to join them. Valerie has recently moved to a picturesque town in southern Spain to finally leave behind her turbulent past and find a peace that has always eluded her. Briony has no idea that in a few moments time, her relationship with her mother will change irrevocably.
As Katie plays, Briony pulls from her bag an old photo album, found in a box in her mother's new home. As she begins to study the faded photos, a letter falls to the ground. It is addressed to her. "My Darling Briony," it begins. As Briony reads the words with mounting shock, realization dawns. Her mother lied to her about what happened with her beloved grandmother, Tessa, all those years ago - and denied Briony that most precious of relationships, the type of relationship Valerie now enjoys with Katie.
The lives of three generations of women are set to change forever as the past is revisited and the truth unfolds through the undelivered letters Tessa wrote to Briony over the years. Secrets, lies, betrayals and sacrifices - the complex bonds between mothers, daughters and granddaughters are intricately explored as Patricia Scanlan takes us into the hearts and homes of a family at war.
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slow burner but one that will see you through
Nearly fifteen hours of my life I won't get back..
I can be reasonably sentimental when the situation calls for it, but the characters drove me mad with their self-indulgent antics. This is definitely for those of a very forgiving temperament
It's hard to say what the author could have done to make me enjoy it - and as others seem to like it, I don't see why she'd bother!
The narrator sounded like a different generation from the characters portrayed and loaded so much of her own interpretation onto the text that it distracted me from the story. Another book where I'm left wondering if I'd have enjoyed it more with someone who'd read it straight,
Anger and disappointment, certainly, but quite a lot of nausea too. I needed to listen to something completely different when I'd finished it, so thank goodness I found Tasmina Perry's Deep Blue Sea.