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A Place for Us

af Harriet Evans

Serier: Winterfold (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
10611207,105 (3.28)4
The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside. The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm. Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems. After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret. But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this? Welcome to Winterfold. Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
In A Place for Us by Harriet Evans, the Winter family reunites after receiving their invitations for matriarch Martha's eightieth birthday celebration. The mysterious message included with the invitation causes a bit of a panic with each of the invitees due to their fear that their secrets are about to be revealed. This sprawling novel weaves back and forth between past and present and despite the sometimes slow pacing, it is an intriguing read.

As the story opens, Martha has decided the time for keeping secrets is over and in spite of her husband David's plea to reconsider, she is quite firm in her decision. Each of the family members are worried about the upcoming revelation but they all know they must attend the party.

Their son Bill is the only child still living in the local area and while he is not overly concerned about what Martha is about to share, his wife Karen is afraid that she knows what Martha has to say. Daughter Florence is mildly curious and at first she has doubts about returning home from Italy, but a personal and professional betrayal changes her mind. Daughter Daisy has lived in India for years rarely returning home and no one really expects her to show up for the party. Granddaughter Cat (Daisy's daughter) moved to Paris years earlier and after a failed relationship, she distanced herself from the rest of the family. Bill's daughter Lucy is struggling to keep her job and her suggestion to write an article about her family is met with excitement by her boss and dismay by her family.

Each chapter is written from a different character's perspective, so crucial background information is slowly revealed about their lives, both past and present. While Bill has a successful medical practice, his second marriage is beginning to falter and his wife Karen is becoming more and more dissatisfied with their union. Florence is a renowned professor of art history and she is shocked to discover her ex-lover is trying to oust her from her teaching position. Angered by his betrayal, she finally decides to return for Martha's party and at the same time, she begins court proceedings against him. Daisy remains a rather enigmatic figure but it is clear that she is deeply troubled and that her family has very good reasons to fear her return. Cat is struggling financially and although she has serious reservations about returning home, at the last minute she decides to attend the party but no one is prepared for the changes in her life since her last visit.

The first half of the novel is a little slow moving and some of the time shifts are a little confusing. The chapters are clearly marked so it is easy to keep up with which character is currently "speaking" but some of their timelines switch mid-paragraph as they reminisce about different events in their lives. Each of the characters is well-developed with a distinct voice and their lives, both past and present, are quite fascinating. The pacing of the story picks about halfway through and the last half moves much more quickly as secrets are revealed and their lives become more entangled as they are reunited through tragedy.

A Place for Us is an emotional family saga with a complex storyline and a cast of interesting characters. Harriet Evans brings the setting and characters vibrantly to life and although the storyline is somewhat somber, the conclusion is quite upbeat and positive. All in all, it is a lovely character driven story with a unique plot and endearing characters. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
This is my last read book of 2016 and I thought it was just perfect to finish up a very good reading year for me. I read this book until 2:30 in the morning and then couldn't wait to get up and finish it this morning. This book was on my list of must read books and while I usually make a note of who recommended a book or where I heard about it, I had no notes on this book. But, no matter, I'm glad it was on my list! Martha wakes up one morning and decides it's time to get her family together to let them know some truths that she has kept hidden for years. She decides her 80th birthday would be the perfect time for this party. This is one of those family sagas and you start off in the present but also spend a lot of time going back into the past and see how things happen. A very lovely book with a lot going on! Happy New Year! ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Dec 31, 2016 |
Great 1st paragraph! Hung on waiting to see what secret Martha was going to disclose at her 80th birthday party. It came unexpected, but not what I would have foreseen. Good story with plenty of family secrets and dysfunctional family characters ( )
  booklovers2 | Mar 4, 2016 |
A Place for Us by Harriet Evans is a portrait of the Winters family. Beneath the beautiful surface of this family are the secrets that show how tenuous a seemingly solid family structure can be. The book changes voices chapter to chapter and skips through different time periods. It's not bad; it's just too much of a good thing and would benefit from the idea that sometimes less is more.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/05/a-place-for-us.html

Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley ( )
  njmom3 | May 31, 2015 |
A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Great cover, a huge draw!

Harriet Evans delivers a suspenseful and complex family drama of deep troubled dark secrets, with the A PLACE FOR US. A woman on the eve of her eightieth birthday chooses to reveal secrets, that may destroy her family.

From 1948 to the present, starting out in August, 2012, Martha Winters is approaching eighty years old and she realizes she cannot put off the inevitable. She has to come clean with her family. What has prompted her to now tell the truth after all these years? The beautiful exterior of the home definitely does not match the chaos of the interior family members.

Mother of three, and wife of David for over fifty years, they had not always had money. But she has to let her family know what she and David have sacrificed. She can’t live a lie any more. She had forgotten nothing, nothing that had happened before or afterward. The secrets every family acquires, some small-little indiscretions, tiny jokes. Some big, too big for her to bear anymore. They both were from gray worlds and suddenly there was art, and music and poetry and things she had never experienced.

Bill, (doctor) Daisy (the one who never fit in), Florence (eccentric academic). Martha told herself she loved all her children equally, but in the secret part of herself she had a little rhyme. Bill was her first baby, Daisy her first girl, and Florence was like David. She found is terrifying that someone may look into her heart and see what she had done. But the time for secrets was over. It was coming. It was all coming to her and soon would come out. A time bomb waiting to go off.

After she comes clean, would anyone come to Winterfold any longer? The invitations have gone out requesting the families to return to their English countryside. All will come down on Nov 24th.

David, an illustrator, was the creator of Wilbur the Dog and Daisy, the little girl who thought she understood him. Every home had Wilbur tea towel, pencil case, book of cartoon strips. But back then Wilbur was in the future and the Winters had nothing much, except each other. Only Martha and David knew what they’d gone through to get to the moment when they stood on the lawn that hot day in 1967 and decided they’d buy Winterfold.

As the book progresses we hear from a variety of characters, alternating between each of the family members. There are many members of this family saga, and they each have their own dramas. If you are patient and enjoy an even slower pace to learn the background of each character, you will enjoy the secrets as they unfold.

Bill is struggling with problems in his second marriage and feels inferior around his younger wife, Karen with his older daughter Lucy. Florence, the baby, a professor of art history, has been overlooked both professionally and personally, lives in Florence. Daisy, the middle child, has been out of pocket in India, a charity worker raising money for schools who has not been home in years with a daughter Cat who lives in Paris whom they raised after Daisy left. David also wants the truth told before he dies, as it may be close. We also hear from Joe, the caterer and chef.

We do not hear from Martha again until almost fifty percent through the book, and I was dying to hear her story, since this is her party. I will have to agree with some of the other reviewers, a little too slow for me as why the 3 star rating. Like I am rushing to get to the secret, and then it happens. I would have enjoyed more from David and Martha (found their past very intriguing) and less from the drama filled children; however, realize all parts are an integral component to the plot.

However, I was not completely emotionally connected to the characters, as they all seemed at arm’s length. Possibly due to the multiple characters, layering, and dysfunction, not sure I can pinpoint one thing. Evans does take her time introducing each character, and we travel back and forth in time to blend the storylines

The book is broken down into Parts and we hear from almost each child and spouses, and children in each, so a lot of back and forth and time periods.

Part One: The Invitation (introduction)
Part Two: The Party (cliff hanger)
Part Three: The Past and the Present (more from each member of the family and their part)
Park Four: The End and the Beginning (Summary of why Winterfold was so important to this couple)
And Epilogue

A Place for Us is my first book by Evans. I almost felt exhausted when completing. I have felt similar when attempting to read Maeve Binchy and Jan Karon's books, as almost like work, taking away the pleasure, as not a big fan of this style. I do however, enjoy a good secret reveal especially from an older parent, keeping quiet until towards the end of their life. Making me always wonder what my parents are holding back, now that they are in their mid- eighties. ( )
  JudithDCollins | May 18, 2015 |
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The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside. The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm. Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems. After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret. But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this? Welcome to Winterfold. Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.

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