Judith Lennox has written a sprawling tome spanning the Great War and the latter part of the twentieth century. In 1974, elderly Esme Reddaway prepares for a family gathering, she knows the get-together will prove difficult but she must follow through with her commitment. As she reminisces about her life thus far, the narrative takes us back to 1917, where her sister Camilla’s fiancé Devlin Reddaway is on leave from the Western Front. Having promised to rebuild his ancestral home, Rosindell, for Camilla, he is devastated to learn she is engaged to someone else. Angry and vengeful, he marries Esme, who has been secretly in love with him for years.
In a similar light to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Lennox has given us a sympathetic heroine who struggles to gain her husband’s love. Esme begins by reviving Rosindell’s annual summer ball but as the years pass, she begins to wonder if the house has a malign influence on those who inhabit it, and the revelation of a shocking secret on the night of the ball tears her life apart. Decades later, Esme knows it is she who must lay the ghosts of Rosindell to rest.
Fans of Downton Abbey will revel in Lennox’s tale of sibling rivalry, heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness. A gripping family saga from beginning to end.