Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on http://amazon.com. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Jane Riddell
Publisher: Jane Riddell
A Modern Family Drama
It happens to most of us. The pressures of modern urban life that we experience at the workplace are not always compatible with happiness and harmony within the precincts of a family at home. Usually by the time we recognize this imbalance and make attempts to end the deadlocks between parents and siblings, it is too late. Often injured sensitivities preclude an open conversation. Many people don’t even recognize that there is an intimacy gap. But sometimes Life forces us to take a second look at the core relationship of our biological family. This is exactly the kind of situation that has been explored in this book.
Madalena, a widow, is the owner of a hotel in a small Swiss town called Brunnen. She invites her four children, Portia, Vienne, Lawrence and Annie along with their respectives to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the hotel. She also intends to present her new fiance Karl to her children and some of the regular hotel guests.
Only one of the respectives arrive for the reunion and that is Vienne’s husband Michael. Portia is divorced, Annie has recently been dumped by her lesbian girlfriend and Lawrence is on the verge of quitting his relationship. Early on in this book, Portia’s teenage daughter, Lucy is expelled from her boarding school. Having been uncertain of her biological father’s true identity, she is in a very unstable condition when she comes to Brunnen to join the party. It is her presence that adds a lot of color to the story.
As the narrative progresses, one gets to know the characters below their skin. Family members can usually draw out the most primal emotions in people, reactions to events that were psychically embedded at a time when there were no inbuilt emotional defences. The author does this very skillfully through the conversations and events that ensue. And the events that take place reveal the human nature behind the “correct” mask that we think is appropriate for modern society. Once the “real” person beyond the mask emerges, shakes off the shackles of past history, a blessing is bestowed. This leads to the grand finale of a happy ending.
This book has some of the elements of a Rosamunde Pilcher novel, but the characters are a little more impetuous, a little more energetic and harder to define. If you like studies of close people-to-people interaction within a genteel family environment, read this book. However, if you are looking for bang bang action, horror and secrets unfolding out from nowhere, this book is not for you, even though some long hidden secrets do tumble out from the closet.
Personally, I liked the book despite its relative slow pace. I recommend it warmly.