It is 1919 and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. She can no longer cope. And just as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away. Fifty years later, a young solicitor on his first case finds Emeline’s diary. Bill Perch is eager to prove himself but what he finds in the tattered pages of neat script goes against everything he has been told. He begins to trace a story of love and betrayal that will send him on a journey to discover the truth. What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me and the lure of a family mystery really drew me in. The book switches between 1919 and 1969 alternating with each chapter. We hear Emeline’s story of 1919 and Bill’s attempts to discover the truth in 1969.
I usually worry when I see an author has written a member of the opposite sex in the first person. I’ve read this in books before and it doesn’t always work well. However, Laura Madeleine has written Bill’s perspective really well. At no point in reading his narrative did I think ‘this is clearly written by a woman’ and I quite enjoyed Bill’s investigations and exploits as he tracks down the truth.
Out of the two narratives, I enjoyed Emeline’s more. But that was because I preferred her time period. There are some truly wonderful descriptions of the food that is cooked at Cafe Fi del Mon, where Emeline finds sanctuary. I could taste, smell, see the food – my mouth was watering!
This was a really pleasant and enjoyable read. I’ll be keeping an eye for more books by Laura Madeleine.
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 4/5 STARS
After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school. Laura Madeleine chose instead to focus on studying English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction under three different pseudonyms and is the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. Laura lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Housom.
‘Where The Wild Cherries Grow’ is published on the 15th of June by Transworld Books. With thanks to Hannah Bright at Transworld for my copy.
If you like’ Where The Wild Cherries Grow’ then try –
‘Black Rabbit Hall’ by Eve Chase
‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ by Ruth Hogan
‘A Memory of Violets’ by Hazel Gaynor
‘The Lost Wife’ by Alyson Richman