Available in bookstores nationwide.
I have previously enjoyed Catherine Robertson’s more chick-lit-styled titles, and thus eagerly snatched up her latest publication. It is not like the earlier ones, this is more of a foray into the merging of historic and contempory, in a similar manner to Belinda Alexander and Kate Morton – two of my favourite “women’s literature” authors. Two time-streams alternate here: the modern storyline, in which April Turner, a grieving mother, has sentenced herself to a life devoid of any beauty and colour and the historic. This follows the childhood of Sunny, Lady Day, whom April meets when she is drawn to Empyrean, a long-abandoned country house. The two are woven together skilfully.
April’s self-inflicted penance is tested sorely when she undertakes the responsibility of restoring Empyrean. Firstly, by Sunny, who as she approaches the age of 90, has a no-nonsense, hands-on sensibilities and will do her darndest to lure April out of her shell. Then there is Oran, red-haired, impulsive and quick-witted (sometimes to his disadvantage), with a deep dedication to his errant and unfaithful wife. And lastly, Jack, the mysterious man who lives in the woods with his dog and brings with him the wisdom and the compassion that just might help save April from herself.
Wonderfully written, with engaging (albeit frustrating at times) characters, a light mystery and a heart-warming, enchanting plot. This is a delicious and comforting read, that will intrigue, engage and possibly even inspire.
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
The Hiding Places
by Catherine Robertson
Published by Black Swan NZ