Finalist for the BRITISH BOOK AWARD BEST READ OF THE YEAR, of its time.
I wrote this book review for BLOG M magazine for January edition.
Hey Readers!!! Doesn’t the title seem catchy and the cover page looks dreamy? Well it does and the book offers the best to its readers. It’s elaborative, engrossing and so real. The story has been created brilliantly and one lives a plethora of emotions love, romance, loss, friendship, passion in a short span of time. I read it with great interest, snuggled on my couch on one of my holidays. Its one of the best books that talks attractively well of 1950’s and is equally enchanting in 2010.
What do you believe- An accidental encounter with a stranger could be a fore-planned twist of fate or a mere coincidence? Can it actually change the course of one’s life? Absolutely!!!(I have come to believe in affirmation after reading the book). When Penelope Wallace met Charlotte Ferris, it was an ordinary afternoon but an extraordinary day of her life. She had no inkling that meeting this stranger would be a life changing experience in the days to come. Also the Pages of her past would unfurl with some striking revelations in the future.
That afternoon, becoming an acquaintance to Aunt Clare and Harry through Charlotte had all been by chance, but for a lifetime. Penelope accepts friendship and encourages socializing with her new found friends. A teenager, who has lived her life quite differently, is taken in by the glittering charm of the high society of London. She thoroughly enjoys the transformations taking place in her life, be it hanging around with Charlotte, posing the fake love interest of Harry, turning out a heart burner for Marina and having the flushes of love pangs for Rocky. One after another, she is engulfed in flurry of events but Miss Wallace is totally unaware that the major twists and turns are yet to occur.
Times had been tough for Penelope, her mother and her brother post war. Their ancestral home Magna was already crumbling down. Her mom, a glamorous widow, had been alone all along these years in the magnificent house- Magna but had hated being there. She was against the American culture adoption. There had to be reasons and she was unaware. There were ‘Secrets’ so many but not until Penelope unearths the startling truths, that she realizes that they were actually secrets buried for long.
Half way through, the story is plain, simple and magical, but the later part is very interesting. I specifically loved the minute detailing of the grand parties of the high society of London. There were gorgeous dresses, beautiful ladies and great food. But I had an eerie feeling whenever there was the mention of the grand house, Magna. I knew the story had many revelations to do but the end pages had something unimaginable to offer. Again it was a strange and accidental encounter that had taken place years ago among two people but had affected their lives and families for many years to come.
The book has been put up well and the life of England in the years of 1950’s has been described with élan. The extravagant parties were fashionable and the book mentions some poise brands all along Chanel, Dior etc. The soft romance between Penelope and Harry has its own charm. All in all, the story runs down smoothly and actually sheds down the art of keeping secret in the last pages. The reader is smug to read it all.