I belong to the BookBub mailing list and saw the follow-up book to this one listed. But I didn’t want to read the second one until I’d read the first one so both were downloaded to my Kindle.

Although the ending might have been just a little too neat I enjoyed the story all the way through and even up to the end I wasn’t sure whether or not there would be a happy ending.

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When a friend was looking for a book recommendation this was one of the suggestions – and it was a good one.

Ellen, a middle-aged, single mother of two grown children, is the main character of the book. Her life is presented as both reflections of the past and descriptions of her current life (and it is an interesting one). The first part of the book is very light and humorous but it gets serious further along.

Part of the appeal was that it is set in Vancouver so many of the locations were familiar.

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Right from the beginning you know that there have been two deaths in a home where a family is celebrating Christmas. What we don’t find out until the end is who died and what happened. The chapters are divided so we get to know the background story of all the members of the family and some of the secrets that may have led to the deaths.

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There is a reason the “Classics” are classics – they are good no matter what era you are reading them in.

Due to failing family fortunes, Agnes becomes a governess to children of varying ages in a series of wealthy estates. In her last placement she forms an attachment to a young clergyman. When Agnes’ father dies she moves back home where she and her mother start a small school. Eventually the clergyman finds her and, you can imagine, they live happily ever after.

This is the first novel in this huge book; I will get to them all eventually!

Goodreads Rating * * * * *   (Thanks to Dad, I love the classics)


It has often occurred to me that foster parents must struggle with emotions when their foster child is either returned to their home or adopted. With the right set of foster parents and the right child I imagine the emotional links can form quickly.

In this book we are introduced to Bethany, a single parent to her foster child Willow. Willow’s first six years were difficult when she lived with her mother, who is now serving time in jail. Willow had an older half-sister; she lives with her birth father who has had to overcome some difficult circumstances to become the father he wants to be.

Everything ties up quite neatly in the end, perhaps too neatly.

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