It started with a letter. A letter that had been lost for a long time, waiting out half a century in a forgotten postal bag in the dim attic of a nondescript house in Bermondsey … Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. (Source: Good Reads)
What I enjoyed:
– the beautiful, vivid descriptions of the Milderhurst castle and its surroundings
– the characterisation of Edie, her mother and the three elderly Blythe sisters
– the exploration of fiction’s effect on people’s life, and the complicated relationships between family members
– the mystery of what happened ‘that night’.
What I didn’t:
– the pace – it could’ve moved a lot faster
– the ending (but I shan’t say why as I’m not a spoiler).
‘All my life my mother has been an oracle, a brick wall of propriety, so to see her unsure, particularly in a situation that I meet without a wrinkle, tilts my world and makes the solid ground swirl like clouds beneath me. So I waited, and only when enough time had passed did I look up again, catch her eye, sure again now, confident, and wave with candour, as if only in that moment had I realized she was there.’
‘I woke with a start, catching my dream in the process of dissolving. Tattered fancies hung like ghosts in the room’s corners and I lay very still for a time, willing them not to dissipate.’
‘It was one of the pinafores Saffy had sewn when Merry first arrived; made from a lovely piece of Liberty fabric ordered years ago, not because Saffy had a project in mind, but because it was simply too beautiful not to possess. It had languished ever since in the sewing cupboard, waiting patiently for Saffy to find it a purpose. And now she had.’
Have you read it? What did you think? Or – have you read anything else you think I’d like?