Babara Simpsons review read live on bookshow 17th April 2014:
this is one of the best and most enjoyable family sagas I've read - every page is an absolute delight.
the story covers the period from 1914-1974 and centres around Rosindell, a decaying house in South Devon.
Devlin Reddaway, who has inherited Rosindell from his father, returns wounded from the war in 1917. He is in love with Camilla Langdon, eldest daughter of a boatyard owner in Salcombe but when he hears that she has become engaged to another richer and better connected man, he retreats into isolation fuelled by anger and grief. Camillas younger sister Esme, has loved Devlin for years and when for reasons of propriety, he offers her marriage, she accepts, despite believing she is second best and that Camilla could take him from her at any time.
This doesn't make for an easy marriage but together Esme and Devlin work on restoring Rosendell to something of its former glory and he dos actually love her although she never really accepts that he can.
The years pass, they have children and Camilla flits in and out of their lives and in and out of liaisons with various men.
If you think this sounds rather trivial, rest assured it most certainly isn't. The plot is gripping, filled with deceit, betrayal, heartbreak and love. the action moves seamless from the ghastliness of the First World War trenches to the great restorative peace and beauty of South Devon, to the excitement of London between the wars and to San Francisco in the 1960's & 70's.
anyone who was enchanted by the Shell Seekers in the 1980's, Kate Mortons books now and who loves Downton Abbey as much as I do will find this vast novel a sheer and satisfying delight.
Thank ou, Judith Lennox, it was wonderful