Culture Street

Books

A Place For Us by Harriet Evans

On September 22, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

A Place for Us is a sweeping family saga of dark secrets hidden behind a beautiful home. This is the book that you read with your feet up on a cold rainy Sunday afternoon and let its warmth wrap around you.

Winterfold is the idyllic home of David and Martha Winter. It is a place full of childhood memories for both their children and their grandchildren. Martha is on the brink of turning 80 and all the family, spread across the globe, are returning to Winterfold to celebrate her milestone birthday.

Martha has planned the entire event, drinks on the Friday with friends from the village followed by lunch on the Saturday, just for family. David’s health is ailing and he is not convinced that Martha’s new zeal for revealing the family secret at her 80th birthday is the right way to go about things. He would prefer that secrets were left untold.

Their only son Bill never left the village; he is the local doctor and known by everyone. Married for a second time, his daughter Lucy (from his first marriage) is trying to forge a career for herself as a journalist in London. When she is asked to write a piece about her famous family she is delighted but Martha is not happy about the invasion of privacy.

The great ailing David Winter still famous for his cartoons, Wilbur (a dog) and Daisy, does not want the past revealed. He built a career on his daughter Daisy, now living in India, a daughter they barely see and one who left her daughter Cat to be brought up by David and Martha. Although abandoned by her mother, Cat had an idyllic childhood with her grandparents but left to pursue fashion in Paris where she now lives.

Martha and David’s other daughter Florence is the clever one, an art historian, she has dedicated her life to her studies. Living in Florence she has never married and has no children. Martha can’t wait to be surrounded once more by her loving family.

At the lunch Martha as promised spills the family secret, she tries to limit it to just the one she wants to tell but soon everything the Winter family has held dear comes crumbling down.

You will fall in love with the Winter family and treasure the moments you spend with them on every page. If you are a fan of Hannah Richell’s Secrets of the Tides, then this book is for you.

Meet Harriet Evans

What are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished the new Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests, which was absolutely brilliant. And I am now re-reading one of my favourite books, The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy, which always makes me cry but is a wonderful, sweeping, heart wrenching read.

Which writer most inspires you?
Either Elizabeth Jane Howard or Rosamunde Pilcher, but probably the latter. She has everything I want in a writer, sweeping plotlines, gripping stories, wonderful characters and detailing and that real ‘curl up and devour this book’ factor which is what I’m always trying to achieve when I write.

If you were sent away to a desert island and were only allowed to take one book with you, which one would you take?
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. I could reread that book a hundred times and still find something new in it.

What would be the title of your memoirs?
The Perils of Having an Over-Active Imagination!

Your dream house is …
My in-laws’ home in Surrey. It’s a beautiful Arts and Crafts house they’ve lived in for years. It’s also a B&B! You can stay there if you want! Say I recommended it; maybe I’ll get a commission…

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