Monday 5 June 2017

Review ~ The Choice by Valerie Mendes

The Book Guild
6 June 2017

What's it all about..

" Find Moira for me. Tell her I'm sorry"

These are Walter Drummond's dying words to his daughter, Eleanor, on his deathbed in Woodstock in January 1936. Eleanor has never heard the name Moira before, and she dare not even say it to her mother. Yet she becomes haunted by the mysterious woman who consumed her darling Daddy's thoughts in his final hours. 

Who on earth was Moira? How strong a hold did she have over Walter Drummond? And why? 

So begins Eleanor's quest to uncover the truth about her father and his past. What starts as a promise becomes an obsession, and in Eleanor s determination to find Moira, she discovers things about her father she would much rather never have known. It is a journey that takes her to Cornwall, to a tiny artist's cottage by the sea, to a passionate first love affair and the discovery of a devastating secret.

What did I think about it...

When Walter Drummond asks his daughter, on his death bed, to find Moira and seek her forgiveness, it opens up a web of secrets. The quest to find the 'mysterious' Moira will take Eleanor into some dark places, and opens up a whole hidden section of her beloved father's life revealing secrets which have been buried for years. The family saga, which then evolves, takes the reader on a journey through the early years of the twentieth century when life was very different and when women had few choices but to accept what life held for them. That Eleanor is a feisty and determined young woman is to her credit, as is her tenacity in discovering more about her father's secret life.

The story is nicely written with an interesting turn of phrase which adds a touch of authenticity and a real sense of time and place to the narrative. I think that the author has done a good job in sustaining the twists and turns of the story right through to the end, and I must admit to wondering just how the story would eventually play out. The characters are well developed, some are not always likeable, but they add a real sense of drive and purpose to the overall feel of the novel. The inclusion into the story of the drama surrounding Edward and Mrs Simpson added an extra dimension to the story and helped to firmly place Eleanor's story within the context of 1936, and into that momentous year when the royal drama was being played out behind the closed doors of English country houses..

If you like historical family sagas with a good plot and well written central characters then The Choice has all the hallmarks of a relaxing summer read.

Best Read with...Delicious cucumber sandwiches and a strawberry tart, fresh from the tea room.

About the Author

Encouraged to become a full-time writer, Valerie has published two picture books – Tomasina’s First Dance and Look at Me, Grandma! – and four young adult novels: Girl in the Attic, Coming of Age, Lost and Found and The Drowning. Very few writers have this ability to write successfully for such different age ranges.

Larkswood, Valerie’s first historical novel for adults, was published by Orion in 2014. Its paperback edition has sold more than 75,000 copies.

Valerie lives in Woodstock just outside Oxford, and loves walking, gardening, going to the theatre and giving parties for her friends. “But all the time,” she says, “somewhere in my head I am thinking about my latest heroine, my latest villain – and the dark heart of the tale.”

My thanks to Lisa at Midas PR for the chance to read this book i andvance of its publication tomorrow.

The Choice is published by The Book Guild on the 6th June


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