At the heart of the story are three women: sisters Nell and Mary Harriette, one living life to the full and the other wishing she could, and Nell’s daughter Frances, who exchanges the unpredictability of life with her mother for the only too predictable world of her aunt back in England. The novel follows them and the people they love as each one navigates the narrow path between family expectation and private happiness. Through amazingly fluid writing and a great story line, you get engulfed in the storytelling until the end! A steady pace, nothing slow and nothing rushed. Perfect! I lost my whole day reading – just couldn't bear to put it down!
by NetGalley review
There was a time when almost everyone read novels as good as this - from authors such as E.M. Forster, John Galsworthy and H.E. Bates - now sadly with the passing of those authors and an absence of any newcomers of a similar ilk there has been a period of literary famine. Now at last Chris Davies has written a novel that evokes and rekindles the talents of Forster, Galsworthy and Bates in his own inimitable style.
Drawing on family archives and many factual sources the author writes of the end of innocence, the late Victorians and Edwardians, and the loss of a whole generation in the Great War. This is a profoundly moving novel full of characters and situations I will never forget.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/222398/review/651022
by NetGalley review
A beautifully written story interweaving a family’s experience of love and loss with the pressures to conform. It gives a tremendous sense of time and place, whether it is 1870s South Carolina or 1910s Oxford. I felt swept along with all the individual stories of the characters and was totally engrossed.
by M Doyle
Chris Davies has worked all his life as a teacher, first in comprehensive schools and then at Oxford University. He has written books about literacy, advertising and the impact of the internet on young people. He divides his time now between Oxford and Manchester, and continues to write fiction.