The Wildflowers by Harriet Evans
Dates Read: 09/02/2021-22/02/2021
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I rather enjoyed this one if I’m honest, it’s ages since I’ve read a good old family saga. I’m not familiar with the author’s body of work so maybe I don’t have the context of her regular readers, but I didn’t find the pacing of this in any way slow as others have suggested. Yes, it’s sweeping across 80 years so there’s a lot to take in, but the central characters within a single family are absorbing and well drawn.
What’s interesting is that their relationships are defined in many ways by what they don’t say and share with the rest of the family. Behind a veneer of beauty and success, there’s trauma, post traumatic stress, inadequacy, lies, self-indulgence, all manner of human failings. At the heart of the story, though, is love, and understanding that truly loving someone means accepting them for everything that they are, whether you like it or not. Family ties don’t always mean blood ties, what connects us is more than that; the shared history, people, places and experiences that define who we are.
Set against the idyllic backdrop of the family house (the Bosky) at the coast, this had me reminiscing about my own childhood – I swear it never rained and we were always out playing and usually filthy. The Bosky here almost becomes its own character, ever present and always a source of comfort, as well as a catalyst, and, until the closing chapters, where it’s always summer.
It’s a pretty beefy tome but don’t be put off by this. It was perfect reading for a dark, cold, locked-down February – escaping into a summer at the seaside was just what I needed!