Hope is a professional chef, divorced, single and lives alone with her cat, so her family are very important to her. Her son Paul is a carpenter and married to Edie, who is a barrister and they have two daughters – Betty (22 months old) and Hazel (6 months old). At the start of the novel, the five of them have just arrived in Greece where they are staying in a villa for a ten-day holiday.
Back in London, Edie discusses the holiday with her friend Ana and explains how Hope makes her feel like an inadequate mother. Edie is career-minded, whereas Hope is more of a natural mother and therefore has a knack of knowing how to deal with her granddaughters too.
Hope has a difficult relationship with her daughter-in-law and feels she is treading on eggshells all the time, never knowing if she is going to upset her in some way. She feels used like a babysitter rather than valued as a grandma.
When we meet Mary – Edie’s mother – we can see where some of Edie’s faults and coldness come from. Even so, I found Edie quite unlikeable and I was definitely on Hope’s side from the start of this novel. I’m a grandma myself though, so I guess it’s natural I would be sympathetic to Hope.
Hope’s business partner is her friend Vita, who she confides in about the difficult relationship she has with her daughter-in-law. I like how we get to see Hope talking to Vita, and Edie chatting to Ana, so we can see how they feel about the issues when away from each other. I felt this really helped “flesh out” the characters, as we see them in different situations.
Although Hope and Edie seem worlds apart in many respects, they are the same in one. They are both keeping big secrets. Secrets they don’t want their family to find out…
I enjoyed following the family dynamics and especially exploring Hope’s past. It is interesting watching the two women and how they both approach things so differently. I found the book a real page-turner after a while. Although it isn’t a fast-paced thriller usually associated with the phrase “page-turner”, I was so invested in the characters that I wanted to keep reading and find out what was going to happen.
This is the first of Fanny Blake’s books I have read, but it won’t be the last, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
9 out of 10
When Hope’s only son Paul met and married Edie, Hope was delighted that he had found love and was settling down to make his own family. Hope has loved bringing up her own child, and is happy to step in and help out now and again – but is always worried about overstepping the line between grandmother and mother.
Edie was hoping that having children with Paul would fulfil her as much as her busy job as a barrister has. But the reality is far from her dream. And with her mother-in-law Hope constantly poking her nose in where it’s not wanted, she finds herself frustrated and alone.
Both women could be each other’s greatest ally, but both have secrets that could ruin their relationship. Secrets neither wants Paul to uncover…