I like stories told in two different time frames and this excelled in this. A debut novel by Sarah Maine I am so looking forward to reading this author again and again.
Hetty is our present day main character. Having inherited property in the Outer Hebrides she is faced with a quandary. She is drawn so much to the island, the house and its inhabitants that she wants to do what is best for all. She is swept towards her decision to convert the house into a hotel by Giles her partner and his team behind him who have grandiose plans for golf courses, helipads and all the accouterments of a fancy hotel whereas she is veering towards something else. She also did not realise before she arrived on the island the antagonism that a venture of this nature would have to face, neither did she take into account her own strong feelings both about the house and its history.
Going back to 1910 we have the famous inhabitant of the house, a famous painter Theo Blake and the history of the Blakes (not always good and certainly not a good or kind landlord). A real feudal lord of the manor, Theo for all his brilliance as an artist was indifferent to the needs and wants of his tenants, most of them who lived in abject poverty sacrificing their livelihoods for his artistic needs and the needs for hunting and sports of his friends. The arrival of Beatrice his second wife was for a time a temporary lightening in his life and brought a fresh hope for the island itself but it dwindled in the face of overwhelming odds. Beatrice's subsequent love for Cameron, the factor's son was doomed from the beginning and you knew it would only lead to heartache.
How the two different time frames blended and came into a whole story was very descriptively handled and delicately balanced throughout the book. Characterization was splendid and the detailed description of the island, its birdlife and its natural beauty was beautifully told.
This book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Freight Books.