Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Past by Tessa Hadley

3 Star

Three adult sisters and their brother meet up at their grandparents' country home for their annual family holiday--three long, hot summer weeks. The beloved but crumbling house is full of memories of their childhood--of when their mother took them to stay with her parents when she left their father--but this could be their last summer in the house, now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic pastoral surface, there are tensions.

Alice has brought with her Kasim, the 20-year-old son of her ex-boyfriend, and he makes plans to seduce the quiet Molly, Roland's 16-year-old daughter. Fran's young children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods, and observe the growing flirtation. Passion erupts where it's least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister. Roland has come with his new (third) wife, whom his sisters don't like...or do they? A way of life--bourgeois, literate, ritualized, Anglican--winds down to its inevitable end: which is a loss, and a release.

Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

The story of a family, their painful past and difficult present. The Past was a story that I truly hoped to like more but unfortunately did not. I have heard a lot about this author previously and I do like the type of story she tells. There was just something I found somewhat awkward and inconsistent about this story. I really wish that I could pinpoint it because it definitely bothered me throughout the book.
I feel like the story was somewhat disjointed based on the fact that it was divided in thirds with the present being the start of the story and then the middle going back to the past with the final third then returning to the present. It was quite a long time to be in a different time period. I feel like the books I enjoy that go back and forth do so in shorter gaps, maybe alternating chapters for example. It was difficult to settle back into the story for the final part.

I am not sure if it was just me or if other readers would also find it difficult to keep the three sisters straight. I had to keep trying to remind myself who was who and what their story was which felt like an awful lot of work to be doing while reading a book. 

The story itself definitely had its interesting parts but the fact that it seemed to not flow easily and even dragged on at certain parts made me just really not want to keep going. I suppose I am happy that I did reach the end because I did enjoy the overall story despite it being somewhat painful to get there.

Thank you to Harper Collins for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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