reviewed live on bookshow by Corinna Christopher 27th June
Into a rural setting not far from London there is an architecturally extraordinary mansion known as The Spanish House. The owner an irascible elderly man is looked after by a couple of neighbours Laura and Matt. They have hopes of one day living there and Matt who is a builder has grandiose plans for the renovation of the crumbling pile.
The owner of this house does not leave a will and the house is inherited by a distant relative Isobel Delancey. Recently loosing her husband in a car crash and discovering that they have little money in spite of his success she moves into the Spanish House with her 15 year old daughter Kitty and young son Thierry. A professional violinist she is ill-equipped for country life and in spite of a friendly local village community they are viewed with suspicion. Kitty a likeable teenager has more sense than her artistic mother and does make friends. Thierry who has become mute and will not speak eventually takes a liking and interest in Byron a local odd-job man with a hidden past who teaches the young lad country skills.
Isobel is keen to improve her new home and engages the services of Matt. He however has a hidden agenda and is not honest about the work that needs to be done. He has been overcharging huge amounts in the hope that Isobel will soon be bankrupt and leave. Not a very nice man he has been cheating on his wife with the local barmaid and Laura is very unhappy with her marriage.
Isobel has a very valuable violin (six figure sum) and reluctantly sells this item to help their finances. For Kitty’s 16th Birthday they decide to hold a party, a wonderful setting with beautiful lake and plenty of space. Sadly something catastrophic occurs with dire consequences.
Into the mix of these characters also comes Nicholas an estate agent and property developer. An interesting story unfolds which ensures the reader is engaged. I did find the ending a bit sad as everyone does their duty and life goes on. Not everyone will like Isobel who comes across as rather selfish and not a very good mother but even her former husband was not the person she thought she had married.
Another masterpiece of writing from JoJo Moyes although perhaps not as brilliant as some of her other books. Each of her novels are quite unique and different.