EXCERPT:…he said, ‘I was thinking about the house in Tasmania.’
‘Me too,’ she said.
‘I was thinking about who the woman might be.’
Willa could hear the hint of forced cheer in his voice.
‘Yes, me too.’
‘I…I know you won’t want to hear this, but I think there’s only one person who it can be,’ said Hugo. He turned and looked at her, and Willa looked back. She could see his love, his open trusting heart, but beneath all that she could see a hint of fear, and she almost couldn’t bear it.
He squeezed her gloved hand.
Willa was holding the coffee cup with her other, bare hand and focused on the warmth of it in her palm, the cold air against her knuckles. She reached down and placed it at her feet.
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I suppose you’re right.’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Two years after a family tragedy, and still consumed by her grief, Willa receives a strange letter from halfway across the globe. She has inherited a house in Australia, in a town she’s never heard of, from a woman she doesn’t know…
Following the mystery to the inviting shores of Sisters Cove, Willa is entranced by the dilapidated old Chapel House she now owns, perched high on a windy cliff within the grounds of Merrivale Estate. As Willa’s suspicions grow about her connection to the place, she begins to look amongst the dusty artwork and sealed boxes of papers left to her, and it becomes clear that the truth is not at all what she expected.
At Merrivale, social butterfly Annabelle is alarmed by Willa’s arrival. Why did her old friend and confidante Lillian leave her home to this stranger? As the two women’s lives intersect in the small, insular world of Sisters Cove, neither realises the dark truth that connects them until it’s too late. And when that terrible secret is exposed, it could destroy the lives of everyone involved…
MY THOUGHTS: What begins as a quietly charming read about a family still devastated by the unexpected death of their teen aged daughter two years previously, slowly turns into a slightly darker read when secrets, lies, betrayals and worse are brought to light by Willa’s presence in Tasmania.
I enjoyed this book. It was touching, sad and heartwarming. There is a lot of grief in this book, beyond the obvious. And yet it is not a depressing read. There is also a lot of love, not of the sickly, romantic kind, but a deep enduring love. The characters are well portrayed, all of them with multiple layers, hidden depths.
The story is told from multiple points of view – Willa, Sylvia and Annabelle – over two timelines, currently and the 1970’s.
This was not a quick read, it is one I lingered over, enjoying the author’s depiction of the characters, her descriptive prowess. I did not enjoy Sarah Clutton’s first book, Good Little Liars, but I could see that she had talent. She has proved that with The Daughter’s Promise. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.
The Daughter’s Promise is due to be published January 8, 2020.
A few of my favorite snippets from The Daughter’s Promise:
‘Kilometers made so much more sense. There were more of them for a start, so you felt better about how much exercise you’d achieved.’
‘Stars were sprinkled through the sky like powdery gems, and out to her right, the ocean was a black mass of nothingness.’
‘She’d always liked the French attitude that her mother had explained to her as a girl – one’s appearance was a favour to other people. They were the one’s who had to look at you, so you should make an effort as a sign of courtesy.’
THE AUTHOR: Sarah Clutton is an Australian author and former lawyer who writes suspense novels packed with drama and nuanced characters. Having majored in psychology in her original degree, Sarah is fascinated by people. How does the past shape us? Can we can learn empathy? What determines the outcomes when moral and legal boundaries collide?
Sarah’s work earned her the Dymocks/Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction Scholarship in 2018, a national award run by one of Australia’s most successful commercial fiction authors and sponsored by one of Australia’s largest book chains. An alumna of the Australian Writers’ Centre novel writing course, and with a mostly-finished Master of Arts (in Writing) that she has no interest in finishing because she prefers making stuff up, Sarah lives with her family in the very pretty tourist town of Bowral, near Sydney. She has lived all over Australia, and if she didn’t live in Bowral, she would live in Hobart, the most beautiful city she knows.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Daughter’s Promise by Sarah Clutton for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3085455258?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1