Anna and her family live in London just before the start of WWII. During this time when her father enlists in the army, her mother does what many mothers do at the time who are worried about their children being injured or killed when the fighting does get quite bad, she sends them on a train to secure their lives aren’t lost in the war, once it hits London.
Unbeknownst to her, Anna isn’t sent to a coastal place like she had envisioned. She is sent to Ashton Place which is in the countryside. Travelling by train and then by bus with only her meager belongings; she forgot her treasured teddy bear at home.
The owners of the countryside mansion are the Ashton’s. They have opened their home to the countless children who would be in dangers way, or overcrowded somewhere else. Since the Ashton’s are childless, they thought inviting the children would liven up their home and their lives. For a time it does, but it fades as their love for one another has in one way or another.
As the years pass, secrets from both Anna’s and the Ashton’s side emerge. The Ashton’s are unhappy, and have been for a time, waiting or wanting to open up to one another, lacking initiative has irrevocably blocked it – afraid of being seen as silly or selfish. Anna’s mother although satisfied with her married life, is missing the intimacy of another’s presence.
Both sides have affairs, nearing the end of the affairs, disastrous results.
What is love? Do you know what love really is ? Have you ever literally ached for one person to the point that they consume their thoughts from the moment you wake until the moment you fall asleep?
Would we risk hurting of feeling abandoned by one to be truly happy?
Have we realized that our one true love has slipped through your fingers?
This novel flows like poetry, much like the poetry that is inside the novel, its ebbing and flowing, until you are at the end, wanting more, when there is none.
This book was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.
** The E-book is available now from Random House. I was able to secure a ebook from the British Publisher before the Canadian Publisher was publishing the novel. The Trade Paperback of the novel will be available on July 27, 2010 here in Canada. The book cover is depicting the European Cover.