This is a haunting story of love, loss and family secrets in a world irrevocably changed by the circumstances of war.
In 1939, dark war clouds are gathering and for eleven year old Cecily Maudsley life is about to be changed forever. Palmyra Farm, the Maudsley’s family home, is a place of secrets and hidden desires and Cecily’s relationship with her mother Agnes and her older sister Rose is fraught with petty squabbles and minor sibling jealousies. However, a devastating tragedy shakes the very foundations of Cecily’s family, and the repercussions will reverberate for years to come.
Effortlessly slipping between two very different time frames, the book moves from the 1930’s to the 1960’s when Cecily returns to the family home after an absence of 29 years, and as she remembers the summer she turned fourteen, old secrets are exposed with shocking consequences. However, for Cecily there is no escape from reality and she must come to terms with her past before she can face her future.
Roma Tearne is a very fine writer and is able, with just a few words, to capture the reader and hold them in the palm of her hand. The writing is languid and poetic, almost cinematic in quality, and conjures time and place so perfectly that I felt like I had gone back to a time of hostilities, hidden desires and dreadful secrets. Part family saga, with a well written mystery at its core, this is a fascinating read and is highly recommended.
My thanks to Hesperus Press and LoveReading Reading Panel for my copy of this book
More book reviews for The Last Pier can be found on the Love Reading website
About the author.
Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born novelist and film maker living in the UK. She left Sri Lanka with her family, at the start of the civil unrest during the 1960s. She trained as a painter & filmmaker at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and then was Leverhulme artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Subsequently she was awarded an AHRC Fellowship and worked for three years in museums around Europe on a project accessing narrative within the collections.
She has written six novels. Her fifth, The Road To Urbino was published by Little Brown in June 2012 to coincide with the premier of her film of that name at the National Gallery in London. She has been short-listed for the Costa, the Kirimaya & LA Times book prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 and, in 2012, the Asian Man Booker. Her sixth novel, The Last Pier, is published April 2015 from Hesperus Press.
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