Harriet has begun to despair of her life.
With a failed relationship behind her, a business on the rocks and a flat that’s falling apart around her ears, she could really use some luck.
Elena Banbury, née Guseva, an elderly but imposing Russian woman who is Harriet’s neighbour and landlady, frequently entertains the punters at Harriet’s jewellery stall with tales of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the treasures of Fabergé. But Harriet sometimes feels, guiltily, that she could do without the endless errands that seem to fall to her as Elena’s friend.
Then, unexpectedly, when Elena dies, she leaves all her worldly goods to a grateful Harriet. In time, however, it becomes clear that others are shocked by Harriet’s good luck, too. Shocked… and very, very unhappy.
Challenged in court by Elena’s family who live in Berlin, Harriet is forced to give up her inheritance and long-dreamed-of plans for a new business, and start her life again. But with her reputation in tatters and the memory of Elena tainted, Harriet knows a great injustice has been done.
Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.
In the weeks that follow she meets rich and poor, the glamorous and the criminal, the honest and the secretive, and begins to see that perhaps she has something to learn from them all. Something to learn about herself, and something to learn about her priorities.
She knows she has to fight for justice. But, when she meets the scholarly, perceptive Neil, who generously tries to help Harriet in her mission, but who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll fight for love, too.
I really liked the cover and it is very well chosen in order to connect with the contents. It, immediately, made me think of family, lovers or friends losing contact over the years.
One thing is for sure : there is a lot going on in this book. That’s why I needed to read this when I was alone with nothing to distract me. You really have to give it your full attention in order to be able to pick up all the twists and turns. That makes the reading slower but not less enthraling. The past is mixed with present and the pages are filled with regrets and (lost) love. And then there is the question of loyalty …
The story was sometimes a bit confusing to me and I had to read some small parts twice in order to be able to follow again. To me it was not always clear where the past stopped and the present began.
Overall, it was a good read and although money often makes the world go round, people should never forget that what goes around comes around. 3 stars.
Thank you Frankie McGowan and Endeavour Ink.
About the author
My career began on teenage magazines before joining Fleet Street writing features for among others, The Sunday Times, The Times, The Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror (where I was an assistant editor and columnist).
Later as a magazine editor and while bringing up Tom and Amy, my now grown up children I launched and edited New Woman and Top Sante before switching to writing the first of my novels. My short stories have been published in a variety of magazines, including You, (Mail on Sunday) Women’s Own, Home and Life, Image (Ireland), Redbook (US) The Lady and Woman’s Weekly
More recently I was asked to adapt two of my novels, A Kept Woman and A Better Life into screenplays and my latest novel, A Single Journey is available now. All my novels have reached the top twenty on Amazon which is the best feeling ever for any writer, but this year two of them, A Kept Woman and The Italian Lesson, both went to Number One in Australia for which I was thrilled and grateful to all those lovely people who bought them.
I am currently working on a new novel – well, I say working on it, what I mean is I’ve got a title for it, A Short Break – and the name of the heroine so all I need now is to try not to lose the plot.