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Top Customer Reviews
I don't want to say too much more. Katharine Smith packs a lot into a book that is easy to read and not too weighty. Her observations on relationships are spot on, and her writing is as superb as it was on Writing The Town Read.
At it's heart is a bright young woman for whom a lot has happened very quickly. Twenty-three years old, and she has a handsome, rich husband, a baby on the way and a charming cottage, but that is only on the surface. She is still struggling with the death of her mother, especially now she is pregnant herself, and her father is far away in Canada with his new love. Her only family is her overbearing mother-in-law, who seems to mean well as well as being controlling, and her husband who seems too weak to stand up to his parents. As Sarah's pregnancy wears on, she knows she should be happy and grateful but she isn't, and she feels terrible about it.
As another reviewer said, this is a very honest story. It isn't sugar-coated, although everyone does seem incredibly nice. The reality is that most people are nice, and flawed, and mean well, however clumsily they try to do it. Smith gets this across perfectly, and the result is a lovely book that every woman will get something out of. One to share with your mothers, sisters, nieces and friends, especially those who are expecting. It is a human story, a woman's story, and one well worth reading.
Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down and read it in the space of a busy weekend, as I was immediately caught up in the plight of the gentle, unselfpitying, sensible and fair-minded heroine as she tried to make sense of her subsequent life. The portrayal of all the characters, including the widowed father (I've been widowed too), was realistic and thoughtful. I could easily picture myself in her footsteps as she went through school and university and into adulthood.
The book doesn't preach or propose ways of coping - it simply provides a portrait of a girl handling what life deals her to the best of her ability, and finding her own route to peace and comfort, which is neither the cliched nor predictable. It doesn't underestimate the need for strength of character required to endure bereavement, nor does it idealise the circumstances or the outcome, but it did for me at least provide a comforting feeling that the girl's mother and the values and love that she instilled in her remain with her lifelong and give her strength. It also demonstrates that comfort
All in all, a touching and memorable book, and I'm looking forward to reading Katharine E Smith's other novel. May there be many more!
A good book for anyone interested in the family dynamics in bereaved and blended families, and of anyone who loves St Ives, which features strongly towards the end of the novel.
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