My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Many thanks to Net Galley, Head of Zeus publicatons and Jane Johnson for a chance to read and review this wonderful book.
I am huge fane of dual-time stories, the magical weaving of 2 different time lines bringing the past and present to collide with secrets, mystery, family dynamics, and of course if there is a rambling house involved, my joy has no bounds, it is so amazing to be lost in a different era. This is my first book by Jane Johnson and she has successfully managed to create a silken web of intricate story-telling that leaves a reader mesmerized.
I am LOST, LOST in Chynalls and the beautiful Cornwall and the lovely quirky cantankerous Olivia. How can one not fall in love with a 90-yr old woman who is hell bent on never letting go and is rude and bossy all the way thru.
Losing her mother to cancer and fighting her own personal health battles, Rebecca has not found it easy. Left to sort out the mails after her mom’s funeral, Rebecca comes across a letter from an elderly cousin Olivia who needs help in getting her house in order so that she can continue living there. Feeling bold and wanting to take some responsibility, she arrives at Chynalls and finds Olivia in the hospital and the porch literally crumbling to dust in front of her and a swearing cursing Gabriel the parrot to take care too. Having her task cut out, Rebecca takes up the challenge but finds out what a daunting task that she’s put herself thru especially with barely managed finances adding to the woes.
Secrets emerge slowly as the story follows Olivia and her war-time struggles, her secret love, her passion in painting and photography, the Sea Gate with its intricate carvings and the secret tunnel that hides more than it reveals. Thru’ Algeria, Morocco, France and England, and the different cultures and religious faiths the author keeps the reader enthralled and spell bound. There is something about cancer and its effects that always leaves a lump in my throat but Jane Johnson has wonderfully interlaced the story positively with love and strength.
There’s so much in the story that no amount of words in the review is gonna be enough, suffice to say that It was a beautiful journey, and I loved it and for that Thank You Jane Johnson.
“I need your help getting Chynalls in order so I can stay in my own house. Come down right away!”
After the death of her mother, Rebecca is sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.
Rebecca arrives at Chynalls to find the house crumbling into the ground and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.
Though slightly daunted, Rebecca sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…