Eva Conway was just four years old when she arrived in England under the Kindertransport scheme. As an adult she became a successful and renowned fashion designer and now, widowed and retired, she lives with her family in Salix House, the country home she has lived in for forty years and which she loves with a fierce passion. However, family members insist that it is time to sell and to move to London, even though Eva is resistant to their plans because the house holds many memories, as well as secrets she has never shared.
Megan, a fashion journalist interviewed and wrote an article about the legendary Eva and felt very drawn to the elderly woman. So, when facing a major personal crisis in her life, she returns to Salix House and accepts a temporary position as nanny to Eva’s two grandchildren. Although decades apart in age, the two women share many similarities in that they are both hiding secrets, and are reluctant to confront either their emotional pain or their uncertainties about their futures.
Adèle Geras’s elegant story-telling is so well-paced and her ability to shift between past and present without confusing the reader is impressive. With just a few sentences she is able to conjure up vividly evocative scenes and atmospheres. She writes convincingly about the power of family secrets and “ghosts”, of conflict, and of resolution. I found the development of the relationship between her two main characters to be totally convincing and I quickly became engaged in their struggles to deal with their unresolved issues surrounding loss, deception and love, as well as their determined search for redemption. I really enjoyed Facing The Light, one of her previous novels, and hoped that this long-awaited story would prove as enjoyable – it didn’t disappoint!