Hidden Chapters is a lovely and wonderfully romantic novel about (parental) love, a family reconnecting at last and coming to terms with the past
What a lovely and wonderful romantic novel Hidden Chapters is! You cannot but love Catrin, the devoted mother of Bethan and Lowri, who dedicated her life to her family. She grew up in the shadow of her perfect brother Aled, who died 18 years ago. Their father, Lloyd, had always adored his son and since his death that feeling has multiplied. Now Lloyd wants to sell ‘The Dragon House’ on the Gower Peninsula – the family home where Catrin and Aled grew up. A special memorial service to be held for Aled induces the family to come back and face the hidden chapters of the past.
Eighteen years ago, Catrin lost her elder brother Aled in a tragic accident around the dangerous rock Worm’s Head. To their father Lloyd, Aled was the perfect son and could do nothing wrong. Catrin is the daughter who had to stay home to take care of her mother, something her father found only logical since he felt she was not intelligent enough to study and have a career. Now her father is ready to sell the family home ‘The Dragon House’. Before doing so, he wants to hold a memorial service, dedicated to Aled, at Rhossili Church. Then there is Bethan, Aled’s daughter, born soon after his death. Since Aled’s girlfriend could not handle having a child, Catrin and her husband Gareth, who already had Lowri, were only too happy to adopt Bethan as their own. Because Bethan was born deaf, they surrounded her with all the help she could get and stimulated her to live her life without as little concession as possible to her deafness.
The whole family travels to the Gower Peninsula for the memorial service. For Catrin, it is the first time in 18 years and she dreads the haunting memories surrounding the place where she grew up. Bethan demands to know the truth about her birth mother and father. Added to that, Lloyd tries to determine Bethan’s future, ignoring Catrin’s parental role. With Bethan’s 18th birthday approaching, the whole of the family together and so many memories hidden; no wonder the atmosphere is tense. Elegant Londoner Elizabeth has also come down for the memorial – her arrival in the little Welsh village puts in motion a series of events forcing the truth to come out and changing the lives of all those involved, including her own. Time only heals wounds when you acknowledge what happened. Perhaps now is the perfect moment to clear away the hidden chapters of the past and face what really happened. Let’s find out!
I am totally smitten with this beautifully written novel about love, loss, and coming to terms with the past. This is Mary Grand’s second novel set in beautiful rural Wales, this time in a coastal village on the Gower Peninsula. Because of the many characters, it took me a few chapters to get into the story but once I was acquainted with them I was drawn in completely. I believe that the author has grown with this second novel as it shows more depth and the story is wonderfully construed with an expertly woven plot. For me, Catrin is the protagonist and the author’s portrayal of her is so well written that it was easy to empathise. I loved how Mary Grand lets her characters evolve and does not judge them. If anything, Mary Grand shows us that love, especially parental love, should be unconditional, that what we see on the surface are sometimes only coping mechanisms, concealing a deep-felt pain. To be recommended!
About the Author
Mary Grand is born in Cardiff and has always retained a deep love for her Welsh roots. She worked as a nursery teacher in London and later taught deaf children in Croydon and Hastings. Now she is living on the beautiful Isle of Wight with her husband and cocker spaniel Pepper. Her two grown up children have already left the family home. ‘Free to Be Tegan’ (my review) is the author’s debut novel. The second ‘Hidden Chapters’ is set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula. Mary Grand has also published two books of short stories ‘Catching the Light’ and ‘Making Changes’.
You can find the books on the author’s Amazon page.
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (13 Sept. 2016)|