Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

British writer Lively is a superb stylist inspired by a curiosity about history that only empathy and the imagination can illuminate. The historical event around which this judiciously crafted family saga revolves is the chaotic Battle of Crete, in 1941, which resulted in an Allied defeat, and, in Lively's sensitive rendering, the death of her artist hero. Matt, of modest rural roots, happens upon Lorna, desperate to escape her smothering upper-class existence, in London's St. James Park. Like characters in a Greek myth, they are instantly transformed by love and find paradise in a Somerset cottage. But after Matt is killed, Lorna can't bear to stay there. Instead, she and her daughter find sanctuary in London with generous and bohemian Lucas. Lively neatly contrasts conventional and unconventional lives, considers the ironies of womanhood and the pitfalls of marriage, and celebrates creative endeavors. Her characters are beguiling, and her blend of romance and stinging social commentary is tonic. A more accurate title for Lively's astute episodic novel might be Accidents, of which there are many, both tragic and joyous, in recognition of just how fragile and capricious life is. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2007 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This new novel by award-winning British author Lively (Moon Tiger) begins in the 1930s as Londoners Lorna and Matt meet, marry, and move into a rural English cottage, where daughter Molly is born. When Matt dies in battle during World War II, the shattered Lorna moves back to London to live with Lucas, Matt's business partner and friend. When subsequent loss occurs, the narrative shifts to Molly, now a smart, independent young woman looking out for her younger brother and stepfather while making her way in the working world. Later, as Molly negotiates midlife, the narrative shifts again, settling on Molly's daughter, Ruth, a journalist who is married with two children and yet yearns for happiness. Both in linear progression and through the resonance of past and present, this story pulls the reader along with captivating characters whose lives seem achingly familiar. Additionally, the story has a subtle thread about how family legacy can deepen one's perception and appreciation of life. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/07.]--Maureen Neville, Trenton P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booker and Whitbread prize-winner Lively begins her 14th novel, a multigenerational love story, in a London park in 1935, ends it nearly 70 years later after covering several lifetimes of love and heartbreak. The story starts when Lorna Bradley and Matt Faraday meet in St. James Park; they are instantly drawn to one another despite her upper-crust upbringing and Matt's "tradesman" profession. After their marriage, they settle in the country where Matt works as an engraver and Lorna fulfills her domestic role as a wife and mother to their daughter, Molly. It is an idyllic situation until Matt is drafted and sent to Egypt, where he is killed in action. Lorna and young Molly relocate to London, and Lorna works with Matt's friend Lucas at his small printing press. Predictably, Lucas and Lorna marry, but she dies giving birth to Simon. The narrative diverges as grown-up Molly finds employment as a library assistant and has an affair with a wealthy man who fathers her child, Ruth. Grown and with children of her own, Ruth's curiosity about her ancestors sends her on a journey that brings the novel full circle. Lively (A Stitch in Time; Moon Tiger) has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Life is bliss for Lorna and Matt until World War II comes along; daughter Molly has baby Ruth in Sixties London; and Ruth looks back on their twisted pasts. With an online guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.