I must admit I bought this on a sunny summers day because it looked so beautiful in the bookshop window. I love Angie Lewin’s artwork and this seemed like a good way of owning a piece!
The story is set over a summer which Pauline is spending at World’s End, her cottage in the countryside somewhere in the middle of England, her daughter Teresa with husband Maurice and their baby are living next door. As the weeks go by Pauline watches with growing disbelief as Maurice becomes increasingly involved in the book he is writing and her daughter’s life starts to mirror her own, mistakes included.
The storytelling moves about in time from Pauline’s early life with her husband and baby Teresa to the present day and her relationship with Teresa and her own family. It’s a close, intimate look at the private lives and dynamics of a family that I think depends a lot on the reader caring for the characters and I’m afraid I was a bit bored with these people.
Pauline’s story in a provincial university in the 1960’s was I think the most interesting, all groovy young lecturers and doting students ( it reminded me of Malcolm Bradbury’s The History Man)! But we didn’t get to spend nearly enough time there, concentrating instead on Teresa’s family and the similarities between the mother and daughters’ marriages which I found too neat to be really believable.
The ending, however, was great. I really didn’t see that coming. . .