Henry Campbell, doctor, beset by guilt and walking on eggshells around his neurotically unstable wife, Elaine. Together they live in Oxfordshire, in the ‘Old Vicarage’ with their ‘daughter’ Bella. A house safe from the outside world, with roses around the triple-bolted door.
Bella has had a very different life. She is home schooled and has no friends (except her imaginary friend Tori). Her parents dote on her and she always feels loved, even cherished – though a little smothered… Then when she grows up she finally leaves the nest to go to university. There she meets and marries David, one of her college teachers, who is nineteen years her senior. He too seems to want to be over-protective and controlling.
When she receives word that her mother Elaine has died of a heart-attack she is shocked and understandably distraught. Then, when another family tragedy follows swiftly after her mother’s funeral, she is shocked beyond measure. Her very identity is called into question.
She escapes her controlling and confining husband David and boards a train for magical Cornwall, where she hopes to find some answers to her life altering questions. She arrives in St. Ives with a feeling that she has been there before… A deep-seated hiraeth.
There she finds that her real name in Morveren – she was named after a mermaid of Celtic legend. She is the daughter of Alice and Mark Tremayne. She has another family, though not one she might have expected, or hoped for… It would seem that the family was decimated twenty-five years ago. Mark is an abusive alcoholic riddled with self-hatred. Alice has retreated into herself. The pain of the real world was just to much for her to bear. And then there is Dawn, the devoted daughter of Alice, and the sister that Bella had always dreamed of having.
A literary thriller, rich with complex characters whom you come to empathize with set in a historical place rife with legend and physical beauty. A novel of regrets, ethical dilemmas, crimes of passion, guilt, and renewed relationships. A story of parents and children (both the good and the bad), dysfunction in its many forms, and ties that bind whether they be made of emotion or blood. A novel that questions “What is the true cost of emotional security?”
I’m certain that “In her wake” will make my ‘favorites of 2016″ list. A compelling read with many plot twists. Very highly recommended!
Heartfelt thanks to Orenda Books for providing me with a digital copy of this novel for review purposes.
Amanda Jennings lives just outside Henley-on-Thames with her husband and three daughters. In Her Wake is her third novel. She is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s weekly Book Club, and enjoys speaking at literary festivals, libraries and book clubs. When she isn’t writing she can mostly be found walking her dog and dreaming of being up a mountain or beside the sea. She writes a blog and is an active user of social media.