Dunne, Apr 2004, 24.95, 416 pp.
Her two daughters, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren are arriving at Willow Court to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of the family matriarch Leonora Simmonds. While her kin pays homage to her, TV film director Sean Everard is doing a special on Leonora's father, renowned Edwardian painter Edwin Walsh.
As undercurrents swirl amidst the gathering family, Leonora dreams of being eight years old back in 1935 when she was sick with the measles and her mother died. Her dream is different than her memories. Soon other events as she remembers them begin to unravel and a dark secret surfaces that if revealed will change a family basking in legendary fame to one hiding in shame.
This engaging family drama uses a cast that would please De Mille, but author Adele Geras gifts each key player with a distinct personality that remains consistent throughout. Though the pace is quite leisurely, the story line hooks the audience from the moment that Rilla knows she is coming home to see her mom and her sister. The plot never lets go until the final revelations about the past and present emerge leaving the extended Simmonds brood and the audience in shock.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner