Juliet Greenwood is the author of novels, serials, and short stories published under both Juliet Greenwood and "Heather Pardoe," including "The Eagle Stone," "Finding the Snowdon Lily," "The Ivory Princess," "My Soaring Heart," and "The Theatre on the Pier."
The small stately home of Plas Eden, now slightly shabby, in a homely, comforting sort of way, and its hidden garden of statues depicting characters from the Mabinogi, stand at the centre of Juliet Greenwoods latest absorbing romance. Home of the kind and charitable Meredith family for several generations, the house is a safe haven whose own safety is now at risk because of the dark machinations of Cousin Edmund and of Huw Merediths wish to realise his share of the capital. The key to rebuffing both threats lies in the mysterious statues and the secrecy surrounding the identity of the sculptor who brought them into being. The journey to unravel the mystery takes the contemporary heroine, Carys Evans, and her childhood friend and sweetheart, David Meredith, to the windswept shores and moorland of Cornwall, where they find the remnants of a grander stately home and garden that were definitely not safe havens, and a sinister building, now a museum, that was once a lunatic asylum for women. Greenwoods intricate tale focuses on the lives and loves of two women: the modern, twenty-first-century career woman, Carys, and the enigmatic Mrs Smith, whom we first see standing on Westminster Bridge one midnight in 1898, contemplating suicide in the dark, foul waters of the Thames. Mrs Smith has a crumpled letter of recommendation in her pocket and is on her way to seek a domestic post at the nearby Meredith Charity Hospital. She is clearly a Victorian gentlewoman running away from a materially comfortable life. Meanwhile, in the twenty-first century, Carys, as the only unmarried daughter, feels both bullied and obliged to put her career plans and her long-term relationship on hold while she returns to the village of her childhood to care for her convalescent mother. The intertwined stories of these apparently very different women are linked, not only by history, blood and the beautiful Plas Eden, but also by the choices they make and by the way in which those choices are affected by the social mores of their respective centuries. Greenwood offers the reader two riveting romances one in the contemporary chick-lit, or perhaps hen-lit, style; the other following the deliciously well-worn path of the Victorians. But she also successfully weaves in a quiet contemplation of shifting social and personal values, of changing attitudes to women and their place in society, of grief and loss and loyalty, and of the way in which our experiences, and our responses to them, shape whom and what we become. Suzy Ceulan Hughes It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council