by Cassandra Parkin
Jen receives news that her grandmother Lily has passed away. Because everything has been left to her, she travels back to her grandmother’s house along with her daughter Marianne with plans to get the estate in order. Even though Jen hasn’t seen Lily in years, all the memories come flooding in the moment she gets to Lily’s house.
Here is the subtle change in scent that comes at the top of the stairs, a slight difference in the air as the sea takes over from the garden. Here is the sage-green strip of carpet that runs down the centre of the boards to her front door. Here is the key with the loop of plaited string that surely, surely cannot be the one I made for her, decades ago. Here we are, myself and Marianne, going in through Lily’s front door. My dreams have never taken me this far, and Marianne is no longer a solemn scrap who trots sturdily beside me like a curly little lamb. My girlhood’s over. My daughter’s tall. I’m really here. This is now.
As Jen spends the week planning her grandmother’s funeral and reliving her childhood, she discovers old family secrets. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she slowly begins to unearth what’s been hidden from her since she was born.
This book turned out to be so good! The beginning was like a mystery trying to figure Lily out. Also, there’s the other reasons Jen is in the situation she’s in, which is intriguing. There are some definite twists and turns and I never found this story predictable.
It was such an enjoyable experience reading about the wonderful memories Jen has from the summers spent with Lily. Lily’s friendship with Jen is touching; it’s the sweetest grandmother- granddaughter relationship. These summers with Lily were always pure escape for Jen: a way to get away from her parents and to finally have some freedom. With that said, Jen’s relationship with her parents isn’t well understood, but it’s certainly dysfunctional. There have been other relationships within this family that are full of animosity. By the end of the book, everything comes together perfectly.
There’s a magical feel to this story with dreams that forsee the future, to the special connection Lily had to the natural world around her.
“I’ve never told you this before,” she says, holding out her hand to reveal a clutch of bright treasure, nested in the pleats of her palm. “But I think you’re old enough now. My rings are magical. Choose one to wear, and in five minutes you’ll be cool and sleepy, and you’ll stay that way all night.”
The writing is beautiful, and with so many feels, I disappeared into this novel. The jumping back and forth in time between now and back when Jen was a growing girl was practically seamless. It’s like a coming of age story as Jen grows into a teen and then into a young adult, intermixed with Marianne’s story as she’s growing up as well.
I was truly invested in this excellent cast of characters, especially Lily, Marianne, and Jen. Daniel (Jen’s husband) is one I could’ve done without, but he’s so important and the story couldn’t be what it is without him. My issue with him was that he’s controlling and way too needy; not only that, all he cares about is money and what he can get for himself. It was so difficult for me to read certain parts of the book with Jen constantly acquiescing to Daniel. I was sort of hoping to get more of a backstory on Daniel to understand why he was like this, but everything eventually ties together nicely. My emotions were up and down regardless. I couldn’t wait to see how things would pan out between these two. One thing’s for sure: the ending was a total surprise.
Cassandra Parkin is a wonderful storyteller and this book was a page-turner for me because of the the mystery behind these characters. It did feel a little slow at times, but not once did I lose interest. The last third of the book is what had me racing to the finish though.
My overall rating for this one is 4.5 stars. I won this in a giveaway and would like to thank the author for offering this book.
Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Legend Press (October 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1785079344
- ISBN-13: 978-1785079344
When Jen goes to her grandmother’s house for the last time, she’s determined not to dwell on the past. As a child, Jen adored Lily and suspected she might be a witch; but the spell was broken long ago, and now her death means there won’t be any reconciliation.
Lily’s gone, but the enchantments she wove and the secrets she kept still remain. In Lily’s house, Jen and her daughter Marianne reluctantly confront the secrets of the past and present – and discover how dangerous we become when we’re trying to protect the ones we love.
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