Author: Lucinda Riley
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher. This did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like interesting settings.
From Goodreads.com: "As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.
When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Their search takes them back to the 1930s when a former heir to Wharton Park married his young society bride on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt on generations to come."
My Two Cents:
On the whole, I really liked this book. I questioned a couple things (I'll get into that) but as a whole, I really liked this historical fiction book.
Julia has just suffered a great loss in her life and has gone back to see her grandmother who begins telling her stories of the people who once lived in a great house where Julia's grandmother worked. As with many of these stories that take place in two time periods, I liked the old one a lot better.
I loved seeing how the mystery of Julia's family came together. The historical part of the book takes place during World War II in both England and Thailand. I liked how the story was told by Julia's grandmother as sort of an omniscient point of view. The part of the story set in Thailand was definitely my favorite. It's a love story between two people who deeply care for each other and holds the secret to Julia's existence.
Now here's where I had some issues with the book. I had some trouble understanding the motives behind some of the characters. First, Henry, the heir to Wharton House, is sort of horrible. He leads Olivia on and traps her in a loveless marriage and only seems to be looking out for himself. He doesn't seem to understand why what he's doing is wrong and he sort of manipulates Julia's grandfather to get what he wants. Even though I liked the love story between Henry and Lidia, it made it a little hard to fully support their love story as Henry was just generally horrible.
The other issue that I had was everything that happened with Julia's personal life. I don't want to give anything away so excuse me for being vague. First, it just seemed a crazy that it would happen in the first place. I almost wished that it would have been left out of the book because aside from making Julia really sad, I don't think it added anything to the book.
I still really liked this book and would definitely recommend it even with these couple of things that I didn't care for.
Bottom line: This is a great historical fiction!