Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Wildling Sisters

Title:  The Wildling Sisters
Author:  Eve Chase
Publication Information:  G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2017. 336 pages.
ISBN:  0399174133 / 978-0399174131

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "None of us can bear to touch his belt, so horrifyingly intimate."

Favorite Quote:  "It does feel like we have as many lies, forced to adjust our manners and allegiances according to the different worlds we inhabit, learning to say the right thing or not reveal too much."

The English countryside. An old house. Two time periods. A group of women. Mothers and daughters. Sisters. A mystery. This book has the perfect fixings for an enjoyable summer beach read.

Flora, Pam, Dot and the narrator Margot are the Wildling sisters. They are being raised by their eccentric and rather high maintenance mother. She packs them off to their aunt and uncle's house, Applecote Manor, in the country so she can go off and pursue other opportunities in Morocco! This moves comes with challenges and opportunities all its own for the girls. The home, though lovely, is a somber one because the daughter of the house Audrey vanished one day. She was never found, and her disappearance was never resolved. Her mother still holds out hope that her daughter will return; meanwhile, a house and a life becomes a living shrine. The neighboring estate on the other hand is home to handsome young men, who present a world of opportunities for the Wildling sisters who are on the brink of seeking relationships. What happened to Audrey and what happens to these young women during this summer is the story of the past.

Fast forward several decades. Applecote Manor sits empty and is sold to a couple looking to make a complete change in lifestyle. Jesse falls in love with the house and falls in love with the idea of her own home without the shadow of her husband's first wife lingering in every corner. She comes with her husband, her biological young daughter, and her teenage stepdaughter Bella. Bella is fifteen and still engulfed in the grief of her mother's death. The relationships between husband and wife and between stepmother and stepdaughter are fraught with conflicting emotions.

The mystery surrounding the house - that of Audrey's disappearance and that of the summer of the Wildling sisters - adds a counterpoint. For Jesse and her stepdaughter, it both adds to the fear in their relationship and conversely provides a way to connect that is not tied directly into the emotions of their own relationsihp.

The book starts off with a bang with a description of a body being dragged. It then slows considerably as the Gothic setting is described and the backstory of the past and the present is set up. It then picks up speed towards the middle and the end with some unexpected twists and turns.

Jesse and Bella's story is the stereotypical one of a rebellious, hurt teen and an adult working to get through and make a connection. Both characters act true to type, and the story resolves as you would expect. It is meant to be a current story, but reads as though they are also of a time in the past.

The story of the past and of the Wildling sisters themselves takes a much more unexpected path, making this the more intriguing of the two time periods. The Gothic impression of the house and the Gothic overtones to the story add an enjoyable atmosphere to this book about strong women in difficult situations making the tough choices.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment