I come to this book having never read any of Mary Nichols previous novels. So I have had no preconceived ideas as to what to expect.
What I got was a very enjoyable novel, which was easy to consume but I cannot fit into the correct genre. It is not really a family saga in the ‘aga saga’ category although it is based around a family. It certainly is not ‘chick-lit’ but I think would be enjoyed more by women than men. It is sort of romance fiction but then it is not. It is just simply a story and once I had stopped trying to pigeonhole the book I enjoyed it.
The book focuses on two main characters. Barbara who as a student in the Nineteen Twenties has the world at her feet but she is slowly swept off of them by George. Barbara throws away all her ambitions, her dreams and goals and to some extent her own existence and becomes George’s wife. Mary Nichols does a good job in showing the domestic side to that era, and where a women’s place should be and what they should do and how they should behave.
For the men though, it was a different existence. George has ambition and what he wants he gets. However it needs to be done and ‘oiling wheels’ where necessary this is his greatest strength and also his greatest weakness and you know as a reader we will see his empire build but also burn. What a lot of clichés! But this is how Nichols portrays this character and whilst she shows us Barbara’s role she makes it quite clear that she is just another part of George’s empire and property.
There are contrasting characters to show how life could have been for both Barbara and George but in my opinion none of them are worth a specific mention as they are not strong enough. The plot is rather vague and seemingly goes nowhere with no twists or turns, you know what is going to happen you just have to keep reading to get there. In some ways I enjoyed the book because of that, but I was also disappointed because there were no points when I went ‘oh’ because I was not expecting that plot twist. An average book.
The other 2 reviews on Amazon are do not particularly favour this book. I am intrigued if anyone else has read it and what they thought. The Summer House everyone seems to have raved about and I am lucky enough to be getting this for Christmas. I am looking forward to reading it just to see the difference.
I have discovered the author’s website and interestingly enough she pitches the book as a Saga. Perhaps I need to look at what makes up a ‘Saga’?