In my opinion...
I was sitting on a plane yesterday, thinking about what I was going to say about this novel. Then I heard a clear young voice behind me;
’I love you Mummy.’
And there it was, without reservation or embarrassment, no expectations, no pressure, just honest and from the heart.
For me, this was a good place to start as this book is truly a novel about female love in many different forms whether parental, marital or lovers. The three main women characters are constantly thinking about somebody else, and trying to do the right thing for them. Whether it is the correct thing for the other person in the various relationships, we are left , as the reader, to draw our own conclusions.
I smiled wryly, as Flora, when trying to develop a bond with Lou screws up, yet again, as she enthusiastically takes her to view a painting- but it is a Pieta not an Annunciation- emphasising death not life. As a mother, I could empathise with that moment of frustration.
Many of us will be able to identify with Flora’s working life, revealed through flashbacks, juggling not only a high powered job, which fulfils her, children that she feels guilty for not spending enough time nurturing and a challenging husband, whom she continues to try and keep happy. The characters are sympathetically drawn, and I wanted to find out how various conflicts were going to be resolved
The important lesson to be learned from this story,in my opinion, is not how to love others, but how to love yourself. Does Flora achieve this? That is for you to decide.
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An elite surgeon with a brilliant but philandering husband, Flora Macintyre has always defined herself by her success in juggling her career and her marriage. Until, all at once, she finds herself with neither. Retired and widowed in the space of a few months, Flora is left untethered. In a moment of madness, she realises there's nothing to stop her running away to France. But back home her two daughters - the family she's always loved, but never had the time to nurture - are struggling.
Thank you Bonnier Publishing & Netgalley for my advance copy of this novel