The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day. So opens A Place for Us by Sunday Times bestselling author Harriet Evans, a book you'll dive into, featuring a family you'll fall in love with ... and never want to leave. If you devour Rosamund Pilcher and Maeve Binchy and have discovered Jojo Moyes, you'll be thrilled to add Harriet Evans to your collection of favourite authors.
The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.
The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.
Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems.
After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.
But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?
Welcome to Winterfold.
Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.
Review: wow, this really packs a punch for the first part of a novel. The characters, the setting, the storyline-you get just as much from this little snippet as you would do from the whole thing! You are dumped right into the action with some mysterious goings on in the Winter household. It's not just the heads of the household that are involved though, more and more and more characters keep being introduced, and all of them seems to have some sort of secret to hide or some sort of tragedy loming over them. The novella is cleverly structured that the characters each get a chapter at a time and so all the information about them trickles in bit by bit, like sorting out the pieces of a jigsaw.
The language in the installment is just beautiful. The words paint a perfect picture of several idyllic settings, each home to a a member of the Winter family, and yet each of those settings in marred by the secret that each of them hides. You are whisked between rural England, Paris and Florence and enter the households of families, couples and single people, all of them living in a state of suspense and a states of loneliness.
Each of the characters in this novella are strong in their own way, even if the life choices they have made haven't been so strong... The matriarch of the household, Martha, seems to be the one holding them altogether, a pupeteer of sorts, and she is the lynchpin of the storyline too, in inviting them all to her 80th birthday where secrets will all be revealed. Her husband is a minor celebrity within the UK and he plays quite a minor role in this installment, although I am sure that he will really come into his own in future sections of this book. I really liked the younger members of this family and thing that they will play a big part as the story unfolds.
I think that this is another great serialisation. It allows suspense to build between sections and allows you to really think about the events that have happened in one novella before the next installment comes out. It has been cleverly written though because I already feel like I have got to know that characters and got an insight and an inkling into what their secrets might be! I really enjoyed reading this novella, it felt like I'd read a full novel only without the satisfying conclusion and I definitely definitely need to read more!