Jenna and Lauren are two sisters living completely different lives.
Lauren is over in London with her husband; Ed, and her daughter; Mack. She’s currently finishing off her courses to allow her to be a full time interior designer, and in the mean time she’s enjoying running her house and meeting her friends.
Jenna still lives on her home island; Martha’s Vineyard, with her husband; Greg, and is close by to see her mum. Except being near by, makes no difference. Her mother – Nancy – doesn’t seem to have any interest in her… always distant and more interested in other families, than her own. Working as a teacher, Jenna is always surrounded by little ones, but it’s all becoming a little too bittersweet, as she’s trying so hard to have one of her own and each month is another set back for her.
From the first few pages, it’s easy to look at Lauren and think how luckier life has been to her, and it has, up until Ed’s 40th birthday, when it all starts to go wrong…
Lauren now finds herself back on Martha’s Vineyard with no husband, no money and no prospects for work… oh and an unbelievably grumpy teenager.
But is it a fresh start or a walk down memory lane…
Firstly, I must start with how much I loved the location setting of this book. I had never heard of Martha’s Vineyard (for those, like me, who aren’t the best at geography – it’s an island off the coast of Massachusetts), and Morgan’s descriptive writing style brought the place alive for me. The sea, the boats, the beaches, the lighthouse, the flowers… I felt like I was right there. The stunning nature of this place provided the perfect backdrop for the main characters to reflect and move forward.
Without trying to give away too much of the plot, I was surprised and pleased by how early on Morgan introduced a certain character from the sisters’ past. Other writer’s might have left the encounter of these characters to a later part of the book, but Morgan dived straight in and I found this really refreshing. There was no build up of the “how will they meet and when”, it was all about the “what’s going to happen next”.
With Lauren now home, there’s another issue that can be tackled – the daughters relationship with their mother. Why is Martha not motherly with them? Why does she seem to not care? Is it just who Martha is as a person? But that can’t be right, because the girls do have some fond memories with their mum from their childhood. So what changed… secrets need to be revealed to piece together the truth. I found the moment that the three women were honest with each other so emotionally empowering. We think we are protecting one another by hiding the truth, but we forget how by keeping the secret, our personalities appear different. I loved that a dwindled relationship was re-lit, and that happier times were ahead.
Without a doubt, Morgan has a skill at really delving into her characters and exploring their emotions, the way she tackled Jenna and Greg’s situation around pregnancy was beautifully done – the ups and downs, the strength of their relationship, the gut-wrenching raw emotions each time a pregnancy test was negative… oh it tugged at my heart strings. I really felt the pain this couple was going through but, I also admired their determination and unity.
There’s also a certain canine character who I fell madly in love with… Captain is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and boy oh boy, was he a cutie. Have a google, they’re gorgeous looking dogs.
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Until next time, Chloé x