Susan Lewis - The Truth About You
Susan Lewis brings to this novel her usual mix of rounded characters and family interaction, along with a secret to be uncovered. We are drawn into the emotional world of each character - Lainey, the heroine, planning to delve into her origins now that her mother has passsed away, and struggling to cope with a bombshell that her husband Tom delivers to her; teenage daughter Tierney, awakening to adulthood but finding that a situation that she has kept from her parents is becoming frighteningly out of control; and Peter, Lainey's adored stepfather, sinking into the mists of dementia. Eventually Lainey takes her two children on a trip to Italy where she hopes to discover the truth about her past. As new facts unfold, the reality of Tom's earlier life also comes to light, and there are some difficult decisions to make. The novel makes satisfying reading, skilfully written.
Thomas Harding - The House by the Lake
I'm including a non-fiction book this month, as I found it a fascinating read, written almost in the style of a novel. The English author, Thomas Harding, is descended from a Jewish German family who lived in Berlin in the early decades of the twentieth century. They built a summer dwelling at the Gross Glienicke Lake near the city and spent many happy times there. Forced to flee the Nazi regime during the 1930s, the house was occupied by various families throughout the years. After World War II the village ended up in the Russian zone, and eventually the Berlin Wall ran through the garden, preventing the occupants from reaching the lake. In 2013, Harding made a journey to Berlin to discover the fate of the house and found it dilapidated and unoccupied. This is story of what he discovered about the house and its occupants, a history that mirrored that of the country itself. With black and white photographs, the author has brought to life the changing times of Germany in the twentieth century. An engrossing book.