This is the 3rd book from my 10booksofsummer reading challenge, which is hosted by Cathy at 746Books.
My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.
In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse, and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames . . . Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out. A woman is killed, another disappears, and the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time.
Over the next century and beyond, Birchwood Manor welcomes many newcomers but guards its secret closely – until another young woman is drawn to visit the house because of a family secret of her own . . .
So, full disclosure, this book has been on my TBR for roughly 2 years… oops. But I’m so glad I have finally gotten around to reading it.
When I first opened the book, as usual when I’m reading a hardback, I removed the sleeve then cracked it open. I was absolutely over the moon when I saw that this book that had waited patiently on my shelf for two years was a signed copy! I have never had a signed copy of a book before in my life!
This book follows the lives of the people who have come into contact and lived at Birchwood Manor, narrated by Birdie, Lucy, Elodie and Leanoard. All of whom are connected by the house over 150 years. They share secrets and they share a love of a house which was built centuries before any of them were born.
I love Kate Morton books, she brings out my nosyness and my want to know people’s secrets. I love the coincidental encounters and connections people share without even knowing it.
2017, Elodie, a woman in her thirties is about to get married, she works in as an archivist and one day she stumbles across a picture of a beautiful woman and a sketch of a house which she feels she knows, but has never seen the house before.
1844, Birdie is abandonned by her father and left with pickpocketers in Covent Gardens where she grows up waitng for her father to collect her, when she is 17 she has a chance encounter with an artist Edward Radcliffe. She stays with him one summer in 1862. One night 2 weeks into the trip everything goes wrong.
1924 Leonard is trying to discover the past secrets of the Birchwood Manor, but also to try and forgive himself for surviving the war when he feels he shouldn’t have.
Lucy knows everything that happened in the Birchwood Manor, she was there on the night that changed everything, she is the only one who can put the pieces of the puzzle together for everyone but she won’t talk to anyone.
I loved this book as I usually do with Kate Morton’s books, however, there were parts which I feel could have been slightly clearer and some ends I wish had been a little neater at the end. Everything did come together but just not how I wished it had, if that makes sense…
I felt like I really connected with Lucy’s character because she is so curious and loves to read and learn about things (well I mean obviously I love to read!) But there is a practicality about her character which I really liked, whereas Elodies character was a bit too much of a people pleaser for me, a bit too worried about what her mother-in-law to be wanted for Elodie’s wedding!
I was completely engrossed in this book and I would pick it up and start reading it even if I could only squeeze in a paragraph. I honestly just wanted to know what happened and what everyone was hiding.
I did quite like that the story would jump from the present to the past for quite a few chapters, but it did leave me forgetting about what was going on in the present timeline.
I would give this book a 4/5 and the reason for that is because I didn’t feel like there was a conclusive ending for all of the characters, but I did really enjoy it.