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Book Review

‘The Past’

4/27/2016

 

By Tessa Hadley

Harper/Harper Collins

January 2016

Hardback $26.99

HIV

368 pages

Join the Cranes as they reunite at their grandparents’ run-down home in the English countryside for a final summer holiday where family stories and secrets intertwine and come to the surface. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past — their mother took them there to live when she left their father — book 4.28but now they may have to sell it because the upkeep is too expensive.

Sophisticated and polished, Roland and his third wife arouse his sisters’ jealousies and insecurities. Kasim, the 20-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, becomes enthralled with Molly, Roland’s 16-year-old daughter. Fran’s young children make an unsettling discovery of an abandoned and neglected cottage in the woods that shatters their innocence. Harriet, the eldest and quiet self-possessed sister, discovers a passion where it is least expected. Hadley starts the story in the present day and then brings us back to the past when their beloved mother Jill temporarily brings them to this same house to see her parents. Jill died of cancer when the children were young, and their father suffered a collapse and moved to France after Jill’s death. The four children helped raise each other, and their shared sibling conflicts only seem more rooted by this shared wound.

“The Past” takes you on a pastoral journey to the English countryside with its beautiful descriptions of the natural surroundings, which make you slow down your reading to truly enjoy the Crane family as they go through their lives and learn to accept each other. CV

 

Donna Kalsch enjoys being outdoors and loves to cook. She is excited to see all of the new spring flowers.

 

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