20 May, 2013

#BookReview :: The Wednesday Daughters (Wednesday #2) by Meg Waite Clayton

It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows little about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Anna Page and Julie, first introduced as little girls in The Wednesday Sisters, now grown women grappling with issues of a different era. They’ve come to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects, yet what they find is a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.

Hope Tantry along with her friends, Anna and Julie visits the cottage where her mother spent the last years of her life. Hope’s mother’, Ally, had used this cottage as a retreat to finish her biography on Beatrix Potter. Hope knew very little about the time her mother spent here. 
Hope soon realises that there’s a lot of things that she did not know about her mother – like the friendly neighbour next door and the encoded journal that ally left hidden in a drawer. Hope is overwhelmed by her grief, the unanswered questions and her doubts about her own marriage. She also realises that her friends have their own struggles – Julie is still grieving the loss of her twin sister and Anna’s facing her fear of commitments. As they try to find the answers regarding Ally, they take on a journey of their own that teaches them more about love and family.

Though Hope stands out in the novel, Anna and Julie are equally important parts of it. The characters are each unique in their own ways, yet it feels like as if the story would be incomplete even without any one of them. Well-developed characters are easy to connect to and these characters were no different. Even though I haven’t read Wednesday’s Sisters, the prequel to this one, I never felt completely lost. The intertwined lives of the characters were really interesting to read about.

The plot line is simple yet compelling. Bringing together the lives of the ‘Wednesday Sisters’ and the ‘Wednesday Daughters’, this book deals mostly about how each person’s past can influence their present and future. The book also explores the bonds of friendship and family and their effect on our lives. Even the secrets kept from the ones closest to us and betrayals – basically with the simplest concepts of each and every person’s lives. The author has managed to deliver it all in a beautifully wrapped package that is her very precise style of writing.

Though ‘Wednesday Daughters’ can stand alone, I wish I had read ‘Wednesday Sisters’ before reading this so as to be able to forge a relationship with both the generations from the very beginning.

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