Mothers and daughters are at the heart of this debut novel. Ruth has a distant relationship with her mother Iris and just as complicated with her own daughters Isobel and Emily. The years fly by as they each experience love, loss, and the changing expectations and rights of women. This quick passage of time meant that I was often left wondering about skipped over events but I did get to see each woman’s own story develop over time.
Ruth knew that she should be amused. Harry loved to hear such quaint snippets when he came home, but instead she felt wretched suddenly. Here she was, doing her best to entertain the girls, singing, bringing them outside into the dappled sunlight of her garden, just as she was supposed to, reading Kate Greenaway and interminable Beatrix Potter ... giving them rosehip syrup and fingers of bread and butter at intervals; yet she failed to be part of the scene she was creating. She felt strangely uninvolved. It was as if she were acting. Playing mummy.