Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?
Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.
Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.
Lydia’s could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.
Grandmother, mother and daughter – three women whose lives are falling apart. But one summer’s day, a single dramatic moment will force their secrets into the open.
Can they save each other from falling?
I’ve never read a book by Julie Cohen, and judging by the amount of praise I read about Julie’s books, I was clearly missing out so I was eager to make amends and start with this book.
Julie’s writing is fantastic. She manages to create a mixture of emotions. The first chapter, I felt concern for Honor, then jumping straight to the second chapter I found myself laughing as Jo attempts to get him on the bus with two young children, on a day where nothing is going right and much later on I found myself crying, with a whole load of feelings in the middle.
The three viewpoints means we get to know the three women’s secrets in great detail, ensuring we feel for them, especially Lydia and Honor. Personally for me, I didn’t really get why Jo’s secret was really such a big deal, I know it breaks a promise with her 16 year old daughter, but then again, I have the advantage of knowing why Lydia was so adamant about this promise in the heat of the moment, and also, I think it’s a very motherly thing and I’m not a mother, nor am I terribly broody so I think if I was then I would get it.
Honor starts out as grumpy and as snobby as her reputation promises. Her distaste for Jo, her daughter-in-law, couldn’t be more obvious. However she knows she needs help, so has to reluctantly accept Jo’s offer. Despite her grumpiness, I always felt it had a tinge of loneliness to it. It was hard to dislike Honor when reading her chapters. However her barbed comments when Jo was commentating sometimes felt a bit mean.
Jo is one of those people who is generally upbeat and a people pleaser. She clearly hopes her upbeat attitude rubs off on other people, and her need to please people means she worries and then has the tendency to flap about, much to the annoyance of Honor and Lydia.
This was also to her detriment. She never found time for herself, or think about what she wants from life. In her mind she was a housewife or mother, and that’s all she needed to be. But as cliché as it is to ‘find yourself’, I wish she had spent some time doing just that, before she met Richard, or while she had the au-pair to help out with the two young children.
Lydia’s chapters mostly start with an inner monologue where you soon start to learn her secret, and for me her story was my favourite. Her secret was so huge, especially for someone who is only 160 and seeing her struggle pulled on my heart-strings at times. I did like seeing her bond with Honor towards the middle-end of this book, it was great reading their scenes together.
While I probably seem really harsh on Jo, I did like all three women pretty equally. They clearly needed each other and it was a simply beautiful story. A fantastic read that made me feel a real mix of emotions, as I hoped it would.
Gratefully received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.