I do like a family saga. It feels like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers.
This book reminded me of Elizabeth Jane Howard, or Elizabeth Goudge, in as much you instantly ‘"get" the family that Harriet Evans is writing about.
Martha Winter is at the centre of this novel and she has ruled the roost for over sixty years.
She loves her arts-and-crafts ramshackle house that she has spent years renovating. In fact, the house is a major character in this book, and I longed to visit it, or at least get an invite to one the legendary parties that are held there.
She thinks that people come to Winterfold because of her charming and talented husband, but in reality they come there because of the warm and secure welcome that she provides.
The Winters have a strong and successful marriage and have created their own world in Winterfold out of the ashes of poverty, violence, and war. It’s only decades later that everything starts to unravel.
This book lures you in gently and cosily, so that when the shock comes, it’s like a bolt out of the blue.
I was genuinely shocked at the revelation about Martha - and moved by the whole pack of cards that could so easily come tumbling down around the Winter family.