Read between: 3rd- 7th April
Number of pages: 352
Published: August 13th, 2015
Publisher: Black Swan
Synopsis: One day she was there . . .
and the next day, the day after the fire, she was gone.
In the summer of 1983, when Helen is sixteen, Victoria Dover and her eccentric family move in next door, at once making her lonely world a more thrilling place. But the summer ends with a terrible tragedy, and everyone involved – her father and the entire Dover family – simply disappears.
Then one day, thirty years later, Victoria comes back.
A suspenseful, spell-binding coming-of-age story about young friendship, damaged families and how one simple action on a long, sultry summer can echo through the years.
Helen is 16, discovering new things, about her body, about her feelings, and one day, she discovers a new family, The Dovers, have moved into the area. She assumed the cottages down by the canal were abandoned….
It’s safe to say Helen is curious.
She starts spying on them, discretely of course, until Pippa, the youngest sister, gets stuck in her garden hedge- from then, they become friends. Through Pippa, Helen meets Will, Seth, and Victoria.
She also develops a bit of a crush on Seth which I saw happening a mile off, it was an obvious plot point but it actually became a really important part of the story, especially as it took a while to get to the climax.
The book does start quite slow moving, but it flicks between 2013 and 1983- so that Helen can reflect on the past, and so that we, the readers, understand why Helen can’t remember the summer, or why Victoria disappeared.
In terms of character, Helen is reserved and Victoria is a rebellious one, so I did not expect the truth of what happened over the summer of 1983 to be Helen’s fault. You’d think if anyone would be to blame it would have been Victoria- but a broken heart can bring out the worst in people. It was actually quite hard-hitting, and I don’t blame Helen for choosing to forget it.
Definitely disappointed she didn’t get Seth though, maybe it would have changed things.
Despite the slow start, this book ended up having all the right stuff for a good contemporary novel:
In 2013, all of the questions posed to us in 1983 are answered which I liked, because it felt like I’d finally got to the end of the book, but it still made me sit and think about what had happened.
This is Sarah Jasmon’s debut novel and I really liked it! Sometimes the characters got on my nerves but I got over it. It’s a really great story and I’d recommend it.
I just want to thank Lizzy from my little book blog for sending me this book as a prize for winning her giveaway (like last year or something and I’ve just read it now, ah well!)
Thanks for reading!