Author: Katherine Webb
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: August 30, 2011
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a fiction fan.
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like dysfunctional family story fan (I've been reading a lot of these lately; wonder what that says :P )
- You like stories about family secrets.
From Goodreads.com: "When they were children, Erica Calcott and her sister, Beth, spent their summer holidays at Storton Manor. Now, following the death of their grandmother, they have returned to the grand, imposing house in Wiltshire, England. Unable to stem the tide of childhood memories that arise as she sorts through her grandmother's belongings, Erica thinks back to the summer her cousin Henry vanished mysteriously from the estate, an event that tore their family to pieces. It is time, she believes, to lay the past to rest, bring her sister some peace, and finally solve the mystery of her cousin's disappearance.
But sifting through remnants of a bygone time is bringing a secret family history to light--one that stretches back over a century, to a beautiful society heiress in Oklahoma, a haunting, savage land across the ocean. And as past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two shocking acts of betrayal . . . and the heartbreaking legacy they left behind."
My Two Cents:
This book takes place in both America in the early 1900s to present day England. This is a book full of family secrets and untruths that have affected four generations of the Calcott family and how those secrets can change everything. It took me a little bit to get into the book. I definitely liked the story about Caroline in turn of the century Oklahoma better than the present day storyline. Caroline (who is Erica and Beth's great grandmother) is not a strong character. She's weak and she's frightened about everything. She's scared of the unknown and there's a lot of unknown in the relative wilderness of Oklahoma for the pampered East Coast socialite.
The characters in here are not all likable. I guess out of all of the characters, I liked Erica the best. She's the one that really begins to put the family mystery together. She has to take care of her sister, Beth, who is fighting with her own demons. Erica is the only relatively stable main character in the book. Beth sort of got annoying at some points as she never seems to have gotten over something that happened in their childhood. While I can see how you would be affected, Beth doesn't seem to be able to even cope.
I loved that the reader can start putting together all of the pieces in the family mystery before the characters start figuring out what's going on. And I love even more that the pieces don't totally come together until the very end of the book and there is still sort of a surprise ending.