A Place for Us by Harriet Evans

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The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.

The hall is cool after the hot summer’s day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.

Yet something makes you suspect life here can’t be as perfect as it seems.
After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.

But wouldn’t you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold.
Martha Winter’s family is finally coming home.

From its menacing opening line “The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day” we are invited to speculate on the story before it begins. And that, in a sense, has already foregrounded a feeling of unease within the reader. Harriet Evans has written a contemporary family saga reminiscent of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet chronicles. Revolving around the family home, Winterfold, the grown-up children, in-laws and grandchildren receive an invitation to Martha Winter’s eightieth birthday where an announcement will be made. Her children and ex-husband speculate as to what the announcement might be, and each one dwells on secrets and half-truths from their past. With her rich narrative and unpredictable plot, Evans has given us flawed characters that command a degree of sympathy, and empathy, from her readers.

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