The House on Willow Street by Cathy Kelly
Paperback, 464 pages
Expected publication: 13th September 2012 by Harper Collins
Suki, Tess’s sister, fled Ireland years ago to marry politician Kyle Richardon, but when Suki discovers that a biographer is planning to tell all, there is only one place she can go to ensure that her secrets stay hidden.
Danae is the village post mistress in Avalon and she’s worked very hard to make sure nobody knows where she came from or who she is… Her past is her business and that’s the way she would like to keep it.
In Galway, Mara sits with a smile glued to her face at a wedding; she only wants to ask the groom one thing: why did he tell her he loved her? Needing to put her past behind her, Mara packs up her life and gets ready for a fresh start.
Can these four women lay their pasts to rest? Or do they need to look back before they can begin to live for the future
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My thanks go to Harper Collins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first Cathy Kelly book that I have read, despite my mothers bookshelves being full of her books! I am always up for reading something a little different to my usual YA tastes, and it's usually nice to read something less 'dark'. I picked up The House on Willow Street, just expecting a quick, simple read. I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised when I was faced with a whole lot more.
I was intimidated by the prologue of The House on Willow Street - in a few pages, over 10 different characters were mentioned and I thought that I was going to get crazily confused! Thankfully, when the main story began, despite the multitude of characters, the book was very easy to follow. We follow four main characters, Tess, Suki, Danae and Mara who all have some connection to Willow Street. All of the characters connect in some way, directly or indirectly and it's nice to see how everyone ties together in the community. Everyone was very distinct and despite the amount of characters, they all felt individual, strong and well developed. Willow Street truly felt like a real, thriving village.
As I've said, all of the characters were very well written - they so obviously have a history and we get to explore this history with them as the story progresses. All of the characters are interesting and different, but one stuck out in particular for me and that was the story of Danae. I will not mention what the revelation was, but a when we finally got to discover the big 'secret' of her past, I was taken back - it just felt as though it all made sense, though it was shocking. For me, this added a whole other element to the book - something that made it so much more mature, more serious and effective.
I really enjoyed each story and learning about each individual. Though a lot of the story is actually based around the Powers family and their old house, I was actually less interested in Suki than the rest of the characters - sometimes I found her sections a little long winded, but they weren't boring and didn't distract from the rest of the book. The relationships between all of the characters and their interactions were spectacular. Simply, everything about this book had a great sense of realism and it was so easy to connect with, come to relate to and love the characters.
Overall, I was shocked by this book, in the best possible way. This isn't just a piece of chick-lit, it is women's fiction with some very complex issues thrown in yet it is a feel good book in places. I am so glad that I finally got around to discovering this author and her talent... it's needless to say that this will not be the last book I read by this author. Strongly recommended.