Perhaps the past should be used more like the frame of eyeglasses as we look forward, the mirrors of a periscope to help reflect what lies ahead instead of a magnifying glass to analyze every detail behind us.
A prose that is magical, loving and heartbreaking as some dreams are lost and some are realized. The narration is told by the Doyle family who has had their struggles and secrets in three generations of women.
Heather has come to back to London to take care of her late father’s estate. Coming home to old memories that she has buried but now has to face. Being estranged from her family for so long, she longs to discover what happened to her sister Libby that she never knew. What had happened to her and why did her parents never speak of her? Her parents Walter and Maggie have their memories that they have buried that Heather searches for the answers. Because of WWII, Maggie has been driven alone from the family she has ever known to live with her aunt and uncle. Because of loneliness and insecurity, she finds herself pregnant and accepts the marriage proposal of Walter Doyle. Walter has always loved Maggie and is elated that she has finally agreed to marry him. He is unaware of the secret that Maggie has and when the secret is exposed, the young married couple come to grips on what their marriage commitment means. With the birth of Maggie’s daughter, Libby, Maggie is protective as a mother and Walter desires to be the father that Libby needs. Maggie knows Walter is a man of integrity and is committed to being the wife he deserves. Walter feeling the pain of the deception works thru his pain to forgive and love his new family. Libby is different from other children – one parent wants to cultivate that difference while the other parent wants to force her to be “normal”. Each parent is learning to love Libby while protecting her from the cruelty of the world that does not understand her.
I appreciated the Christian themes of this book. That love is hard and that people are not loveable. That many times in relationships we protect ourselves with deception and isolation. The story of the Doyle family speaks to that and that forgiveness is possible with redemption.
Some of the quotes I liked that reflect the spirit of this special story.
Perhaps God’s heart isn’t to punish sinners. Perhaps it’s to wash away the guilt from our sins, the pain of our hardship, and bring us back to Him.
A fortress for her pride and a shoddy tourniquet for her wounds.
For years she’d carefully woven her web, not to trap others so much as to protect herself and Walter and Libby and new Heather.
Thank you for loving me when I was hard to love.
Libby wasn’t Walter’s birth daughter and yet he had rescued a broken woman, offering her healing and hope and his offering, he poured himself out.
A reflection of how broken and beautiful love can be. I loved this.
A Special Thank you to Howard Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.