From Publishers Weekly
The full-length debut by the granddaughter of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal centers on a dreamy, romantic English woman who hasn't quite escaped the thrall of her fabulous mother, Marina. When Kitty, now married, pregnant, and living cozily in New York City with her financier husband, receives the call that her mother has been hospitalized after a breakdown, Kitty flashes back to her magical youth, revolving around her Swedish grandparents' Never-Neverland of a country home, Hay House, shared by her mother and aunts. When Marina's guru insists Marina move to New York City to pursue her painting, Kitty eventually joins her on Park Avenue, and her mixed-up adolescence begins. Wearing her mother's clothes, flirting with her handsome boyfriends and swept into parties where her mother chops the cocaine, Kitty comes through a number of charming yet troubling moments, as well as foreshadowings of Marina's future breakdown. There's plenty of texture to Kitty's remembrances, but the result reads more like a fictional memoir than fully plotted novel. (Apr.)
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Dahl, the granddaughter of children’s book author Roald Dahl, offers up the tale of a woman unable to embrace adulthood and her daughter, who is forced to grow up too fast. Kitty is the product of her glamorous, beautiful mother Marina’s affair with a married man. Marina, a talented painter, is an irresponsible woman-child who takes her two younger children off to America at the behest of a swami, leaving Kitty to fend for herself at an English boarding school. Serious, thoughtful Kitty is out of place and unpopular at the boarding school, and she is relieved when her mother finally sends for her to join the family in America. As Kitty enters her teens, she finds herself emulating her mother’s supposedly “adult” behavior—taking drugs, going to clubs, and seeing inappropriate men—only gradually realizing that she possesses more maturity and wisdom than her mother ever will. Dahl’s writing is fluid and graceful, her novel a tribute to the often complex and sometimes maddening relationship between mothers and daughters. --Kristine Huntley