It is the year 1958 and Elizabeth Holloway has been sent away from her London home to spend the summer at Hartland, a beautiful, rambling country estate by the Sussex coast. To lovely, innocent Elizabeth, the Shaws are the height of sophistication and they treat her as one of their own, but when she falls in love, no one warns her that her dreams are dangerously naïve.
Forty years later, Elizabeth’s daughter Addie finds a stranger on her doorstep, a woman claiming to be her twin sister. At first, Addie refuses to believe it — until her beloved father admits that the circumstances surrounding her birth were not what she’d been led to believe.
The discovery challenges everything Addie thought she knew about the brilliant, difficult woman that was her mother. And as their journey takes them back to Elizabeth’s past, Addie and her new sister Phoebe uncover the extraordinary story of a lost child, a mother’s secret, and one golden summer that changed a woman’s life forever.
Release Date; 21st September 2017
Publisher; Headline Review
Amazon UK – paperback £7.99
hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore – paperback £6.49
Book Depository – paperback £7.99
This was such an engaging, emotional book that mixes the dual timelines so well, that once I had started reading I just couldn’t put it down.
What happens when you find out that when you thought you knew someone, it turns out you knew very little? This is what happens to Addie after her mother Elizabeths’ death. She always had a difficult relationship with her mother and never could understand why, but a year after her death another woman appears on the doorstep claiming to be Elizabeths’ daughter and has exactly the same birthdate, throwing everything the family knew up in the air and bringing back some very bad memories and bad feelings.
As we follow Addie and her journey to find the truth, we also see back in time to 1958 when Elizabeth kept a diary of her time living with her sick mother, and father, and her Summer spent at Hartland House. It is a fascinating mix of history, family secrets and self discovery and does an amazing job of pulling you in as a reader as you see at close hand the devastation that secrets can wreak on a family.
There is never a let up in the pace, and as Addie discovers more and more about her mother as she finds letters and a mobile phone, it really shows how you can never really know a person. And there’s a heartbreaking twist thrown in for good measure that took me by surprise and took my breath away.
A stunning read and I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book in return for a fair and honest review.