Headline is publishing Harriet Evans’ latest novel in four parts. The first was published at the end of July and the second at the end of August. If you haven’t read part one, I would recommend you read my review of that first as unless you’ve read part one, this review will contain BIG SPOILERS.
Part one ended as we were made aware that the reason for Martha’s 80th birthday party was to tell the rest of the family that one of their number was dead. Part two begins with an extract from that character’s childhood diary and it’s clear they weren’t very pleasant:
Pa doesn’t love me. He loves Florence, sort of loves Bill, but mainly Florence, because she likes paintings and she’s a really vile little sneak, a swot, and the worst word I can think of and I’m not writing it down.
And Pa doesn’t like me because he thinks I make trouble. I DON’T. I gave him the idea for Wilbur and he just doesn’t care….
Florence, I am writing your name down on the list I am keeping. I wish you would die. If Wilbur’s dead you should definitely be dead too.
Florence doesn’t belong here. She’s not even one of us. Look at her. And look at me.
In the present that the book’s set in, Florence has decided to stand up for herself and has emailed Professor Lovell, the Courtauld Institute and Peter Connolly’s literary agent and publishers accusing him of plagerism.
But it’s Cat that’s the centre of the most dramatic developments; firstly when she arrives – son, Luke with her – and Joe Thorne reverses out of the drive at Winterfold and straight into Cat’s hire car:
A little boy stood in front of them, thumb in his wide-open mouth, face purple with yelling, and blood dripping from his forehead. He screamed, pulling at his black hair, smearing blood across his wet cheeks.
Behind him a woman came running towards him, her mouth also wide open, her eyes wide, white, wild. She caught him in her arms and he buckled to the ground, still wailing with pain.
And secondly, when she realises where Karen’s been going.
A Place for Us: Part Two is as gripping as part one. We delve further into the problems and complexities that are tearing this family apart and watch as they begin to unravel. Some strands move quicker than others – some threads begun in part one are barely touched upon in this section, but that’s only to be expected when a longer novel is serialised. Evans’ latest book is turning out to be an engrossing family saga. I can’t wait to read part three.
A Place for Us will be available to buy in ebook instalments on the following dates:
Part One – 31st July
Part Two – 27th August
Part Three – 24th September Part
Four – 23rd October
The complete book will be available in paperback and ebook on the 15th January 2015.
Thanks to Headline for the review copy.