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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Penny Feeny - That Summer in Ischia

review written by Ro Bennett and read for the recorded bookshow 4th August 2015

This is another book I downloaded from the One Click Digital library service. I didn’t like the narrator much, she tried an assortment of accents without much success - so each character ended up with a variety of poor and jumbled accents. Also her voice kept taking on a whiny, complaining tone which was grating and made me feel irritable with the characters. I didn’t actually like a majority of the characters anyway so that didn’t help.

The story centres around two friends, Helena and Liddy who work in Italy one summer, looking after the children of two wealthy families at their holiday home by the sea in the island of Ischia. Helena is pretty irresponsible and as a result of that one of their charges disappears during a game of hide and seek. This part is full of suspense - was the child kidnapped, or drowned or has he got lost?  The repercussions of this event have a disastrous effect on all concerned. This and other incidents irretrievably erode the relationship between the girls. There are of course a couple of love interests which add to the hostility between them. 

Then the story flits forward and the location changes to England where Helena’s daughter Allie inherits her grandmother’s house, her mother’s childhood home  and the past returns to haunt the present. She begins to understand why she and her mother were always on the move, and gets glimpses of the tormented past her mother has been running from. For the reader, the answers to former mysteries are gradually uncovered and again an element of suspense is introduced. I enjoyed the last part of the book and preferred the younger generation characters. The book kept me interested and I wanted to know how it would all resolve.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of Italy and the story line but the narrator didn’t do it any favours. 

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