Lily’s family converge on their seaside cottage just weeks after the death of her mother. Each member of the family is drawn back to the cottage in support of Lily (some more happily than others). The cottage was clearly the centre of many childhood memories for Poll and Thomas together with their parents Lily and Charlie who are however, in the throes of divorce due for the most part to Charlie’s infidelity with a much younger woman, the appalling Chloe.
The story is about family, relationships and personal discovery and I felt that the pull back to the cottage for the central characters had much to do with the death of the family matriarch. It seemed as if she and Lily between them were gathering them back one last time to help them reflect on the past, bury their demons and move on.
It’s a lovely gentle read with beautifully developed characters you can’t help but care about. I especially enjoyed Poll as a character, desperately trying to overcome her issues and never feeling good enough. I was so hopeful that she wouldn’t sabotage her relationship with boyfriend Aidan over her insecurities. Her brother Thomas was a strange but endearing character. I felt that if I had ever met him I’d find him most peculiar, however his story was told in such a way that I found myself really bothered by what happened to him.
So there’s no huge twist and what you see is largely what you get with this story. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so much. It was lovely to read a book where the characters and their relationships with one another are so brilliantly written. A follow on book dealing with what happened to the family between the end of the story and the epilogue would be great.
Four stars from me for this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette books for this advance reading copy.