I have enjoyed this book so much – and contrary to my usual views about serialisations (and to my sleep-addled pleas after Part 1 of A Place For Us) I’ve really enjoyed having to wait for the next part, as it’s forced me to make the book last. As a fast reader, when I find something I like, I gobble it up as quickly as possible – then it’s over. As someone who finished each of the last 4 Harry Potter books by early afternoon the day that they came out, I can attest that this can leave you with a very long wait to find out what happened next and a sense of regret that it was over too soon. But reading something spaced out over a period of time gives you a different perspective than eating it up in a big rush. And this is a book that I would definitely have read in a hurry. I was desperate to find out what happened next and how it was all going to work out.
The end of Part 2 left us with another major plot development. Part 3 throws everything up in the air again – so that it falls down in different places and leaves the reader with some answers – but most of the characters are still in the dark. Part 4 puts everything back together and by the end you can see the family walking forwards into a new future.
And I can’t say much more than that about the plot – because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone – particularly as part of the joy of this for me was not knowing where this was going and how everything was going to link up together. Also because the book is going to be published as a proper book in early 2014, anything I say in this post is giving spoilers for the second half of the book – which I try not to do with books I’m reviewing.
This books has such a large cast of characters it is hard to pick a favourite. Instead I’ll say that I liked the Grandchildren strands the best – if I was forced to pick – but it’s a really tough choice, because every part of the plot has something about it that makes me think that I like that one best. Certainly the book wouldn’t be as good as it is if any one of them was missing.
This is a different sort of book from Harriet Evans I think. I’ve read a couple of her books in the past (and as is standard for me, I have a couple waiting to be read as well) and although I enjoyed them and recommend them – I wouldn’t have lent them to my mum. This one I would. And that’s because she loves big family sagas spread across time – and even though this one is mostly set in the present so much of the story is because of what happened in the past. I keep wanting to mention Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles in connection with this book and I can’t quite pin down why – except that they are both books about extended families with secrets which switch between characters as the stories continue and where a house is almost a character in its own right.
Anyway, if you haven’t started reading A Place For Us, you should try it – and now all four parts are available you won’t have the agonising wait that I did between parts 1 to 3 (the holiday meant I got to part 3 a bit later than intended and was able to go straight on to Part 4). If you want a proper book copy – it’s not out until January 15th next year, which is a shame as I probably have bought it for my sister for her Christmas book if I could have done. Here are the links to the kindle versions of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. I got the first three parts through NetGalley (in return for an honest review) but bought myself Part 4 because I was so desperate to know how it all worked out.