By: Kate Morton
Rating: 5 Stars
Who Should Read This Book: Anyone who has been a fan of Kate's other books, and someone who loves stories told from various viewpoints. This book crosses generations, between three women, and is ultimately a book about love, war, and what it means to stand by family no matter what.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.
I have been a big fan of Kate Morton's for awhile now. I have read The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, and loved both of those books. I was a little worried that the magic of her writing might decrease, but let me be the one to tell you that it definitely hasn't. One thing that I have always loved about the author's writing is that she always has a twist at the end. There is always something completely unexpected and one that clinches the 5 star rating you were wondering whether or not to give her. The same thing happened in this beautifully, heart-wrenching, love story that crosses all boundaries.
Laurel is this successful actress who is still dealing with something that happened to her decades earlier. She witnesses her mother commit a heinous crime but knows there must be something more to what she has seen, so she runs after the truth. Even though she knows that what she might find could change all she knows about her mother, she still has the confidence and willingness to discover why and what really happened all those years ago.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was the part in war-torn England with Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy. Laurel is the one that really ties them all together in the story, but I can't imagine the story being half as good if the author didn't take the reader back to this time where the world was starving for deliverance and battling the decision on what was right and wrong. Dorothy's arrogance and insecurity makes you want to slap some sense into her, while also wanting to hug her and tell her that everything is going to be okay. Vivien's bravery and stoicism is not only honorable, it made me envious. To be so alive and sure of oneself is truly something that not many have. And then there's Jimmy. This man who has loved the same woman for years, who without a question takes care of his ailing father, and who's life is changed slowly but surely by circumstances he never intended to fall into.
Kate Morton did such an amazing job with this book. It paints an exquisite portrait of the sacrifices we make in war, and how everyone deserves a second chance. Her writing captures the reader in a time trance and shows us that, through it all, the thing that will save us is everlasting love. I couldn't get enough of this book and was so sad when it had to end. Don't be surprised if you find you shed some tears, for this book will definitely pull at your heart strings. A definite recommendation and must read!