The summer in Devon seems to extend forever. Sir Mungo is living a fairly reclusive life on his family estate. He has escaped the theatre and acting world and its goings on in London. However, it is his brother Archie and wife Camilla who have the problems of maintaining the estate, the farming, the local lands and the current tenants in some of the properties.
Mungo is always close at hand though. Which is why old friends escape to this rural idyll. Which is how we meet Kit an old friend who needs some advice about the past and about the future. We also learn about previous friends from previous visits, Izzy being the dominate one and her past seems to feature in everyone’s present.
Phillip and Billy, brothers who have both lost their wives are struggling to keep their heads above water with the farming around their part of the estate. They are as much of the place as Mungo and Archie, and the future seems to be very bleak for them all.
Young wife, Emma seems to be hiding from something. Her husband is in the military and is away for periods of time, her young family are relishing the landscape and the space to grow. Trouble is without a support network it seems that being out in the sticks can attract the wrong sort of attention from the wrong sort of person. Emma might find she needs solace from Mungo too.
James is an author renting out one of the cottages on the estate so he can find inspiration for his next novel. His emails home to his wife were full of so much self-importance that he was such an irritating character, I would have much preferred to have seen her replies, I am sure they would have made much better reading. James was certainly doomed to never be successful with his attitude.
This is a book which is ideal for summer afternoons to escape with. It is very character driven but Willett as in previous books I have read by her manages to draw your attention to the setting, the landscape, the weather and the scenery all of that somehow plays a part in her story and creates the background to these characters.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy via netgalley.
It is a while since I have read any Marcia Willett, in fact I recall reading plenty of hers before, as some of it was set not far from where I am living. I recognised the surname of Chadwick in this book so there was familiarity to it all. The last Willett book I read was in 2012.
But and here I must be honest and rather contradictory to my review I suppose. The only reason for actually finishing the book was because it was a netgalley copy and therefore I really did need to review it. There was something actually quite monotonous about it and I would have put it down unfinished. Which is a great shame, because I have enjoyed previous books by this author. A book which should have been an ‘easy’ read was actually the opposite. Perhaps it was this particular book? Perhaps it was the way I was feeling? Perhaps I am reading too much into it!