Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Guest Review: Mothers and Daughters by Erica James

Even happy families have their secrets…

Anchor House is the coastal home where Naomi and her husband raised their two girls. Now widowed, Naomi is building a new life alone, but the arrival of Ellis next door is bringing some long-awaited fun back too.

Naomi’s daughters are very different: Martha is determined and driven like her father, while Willow is a free spirit. The three women have always been close, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have secrets of their own. There are things Naomi has kept from her girls, like the fact that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…


Review: I was delighted to discover this new book from Erica James. I always enjoy reading her stories that are usually full of families with realistic lives and problems that can resonate with the reader. This one deals with women from one family who are facing changes in their lives and coping in different ways. I listened to the audio version of the book and enjoyed it from start to finish.


The story centres on Naomi and her two daughters, Martha and Willow, sisters who are like chalk and cheese. Naomi has been a widow for many years, but is happy living in the family home in the seaside location of Tilsham by the Sea. Her quiet existence is suddenly turned upside down by the arrival of a new neighbour, Ellis, with whom, it turns out, she has a history. When it seems that their relationship may become serious, the rest of the family, Martha in particular, are not happy. Martha is a serious young woman who is desperate to have a child and would like her mother to sell the family home and move nearer to her and her sister. Willow, on the other hand, is much more easy going than her sister, and takes life as it comes. However, she has recently met a new man who, at first, seems to have a steadying effect on her, much to the relief of her mother and sister, but is he as good for her as everybody thinks? As time goes by, it seems that the women have been keeping secrets from each other. What will happen to the relationships within the family when the secrets come out?


As I expected I would be, I quickly became immersed in this family drama and kept returning to its pages whenever I could until the end. I loved the setting of the family house, right by the sea. Like Naomi, I wouldn’t have been keen to move away, even without the attraction of Ellis. There are lots of characters in the story, but the focus is on the three women. I have to say that I couldn’t take to Martha at all and felt almost sorry for her long suffering husband, Tom. Of course, she is desperate to start a family and is frustrated that nothing is happening, but she seems to like to ride roughshod over others and isn’t pleased when they don’t fall in with her plans. Poor Naomi was expected to up sticks as if her life was finished having reached her 60s. However, both women were a bit dismissive of poor Willow, who turned out to have the biggest, and most tragic, secret of all. Of course, I most detested Willow’s boyfriend Rick and could see from the start the type of person he was. I was hoping that he would show his true colours before it was too late. Despite the differences between mother and daughters, they were a close family who could close ranks when threatened. I can highly recommend this emotional and powerful story.


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