Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review: Lily's House

Title: Lily’s House
Author: Cassandra Parkin
Publisher: 15th October 2016 by Legend Press
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, women's fiction
My Rating: 4 cups


When Jen goes to her grandmother's house for the last time, she's determined not to dwell on the past. As a child, Jen adored Lily and suspected she might be a witch, but the spell was broken long ago, and now her death means there won't be any reconciliation. Lily's gone, but the enchantments she wove and the secrets she kept still remain. In Lily's house, Jen and her daughter Marianne reluctantly confront the secrets of the past and present—and discover how dangerous we become when we're trying to protect the ones we love.

My Thoughts

Having enjoyed Parkin’s last book, ‘The Beach Hut’, I  was interested to see what her next tale would be like. This book has a little bit of everything – from relationships to domestic violence,  truth and falsehoods, mystery and resolution. I found it a most compelling tale, with relatable characters and a great plot with Parkin, piece by piece, slowly bringing it together to form a fitting conclusion.  

“I didn’t know I still had it in me to be this angry, but this place, this room, it’s faded glamour briefly reawakened by sunshine and the deep clean, has opened the wound again.”

The book begins, with Lily having passed away, leaving her house to her granddaughter, Jen. As the latter begins to sort through her grandmother's possessions, she finds herself puzzling and questioning events - both past and present - that will slowly unlock and reveal so much. This is not an easy thing for Jen to reconcile herself to. I enjoyed the somewhat ‘magical’ element of intuition and premonitions as events unfolded - it lended itself nicely to this tale. Domestic violence is a part of this story and that may be difficult for some, however, it is a crucial element of this plot and handled very well by Parkin.

“I’d like to tell Marianne this is the landscape of my innermost heart, and I could find my way to Lily’s house even if I was dying.”

At times the variance in writing is a little difficult to come to terms with but you become accustomed to it the further in you read. For example: the chapters alternate between past and present and the mobile phone conversations/texts. Slowly and very cleverly, Parkin has you questioning what you think you do and don’t know and the flashbacks and conversations become pertinent and revealing. However, you are never really sure what will come next. Also at times I found the feuding a bit silly, didn’t seem to fit naturally - misunderstandings yes, but tantrums, no.

Lily's House is as enchanting as it is quirky , with a deep rooted tale of unconditional love between a grandmother and granddaughter. To me, Lily  is the star of this book, endearing as she is determined - both in life and in death. Indeed, from beyond the grave she is the guiding light for her granddaughter and great-granddaughter in their time of need, as she foresaw so much and was intent on providing for them in so many ways.

“What a contrast with Lily, mysterious and magical, capable of conjuring wonders.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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