In Elizabeth Buchan's latest novel, 'Daughters', we meet the Russell family. Lara has brought up her stepdaughters, Jasmine and Eve, and her daughter, Maudie, over since her ex-husband Bill moved out. Bill is now marrying Sarah and moving to a large crumbling house in the country. He thinks it's the perfect location for his daughter Eve's wedding to her fiancé Andrew. This is the background to this story which is all about family tensions particularly in the stressful run up to a big wedding!
Tensions are running high as Eve prepares for her wedding. She wants everything to be absolutely perfect on her big day but as her ideas are not always the same as everyone else's this leads to some major arguments, particularly with her dad's new wife Sarah, over flowers and guest lists, and also with younger sister Maudie as to whether she will be able to attend as it would mean starting late on her course at the prestigious Harvard. Her one constant rock is her stepmum (and the woman who brought her up) Lara. That is until Lara discovers something about Andrew and when she tries to raise it with Eve, finds herself shunned and scorned. It seems that no one can do anything right as far as Eve is concerned.
'Daughters' is a riveting read and fascinating because of all of the different dynamics within this unusual family. Lara is the central character and has to put up with a lot from negotiating with her teenage daughter, trying to ensure that Eve stays calm for the wedding, appeasing Sarah's objections and trying to maintain a reasonably civil relationship with her husband. Not an easy list by anyone's standards which is why it is so easy to empathise with Lara.
There are many different story lines that all are woven together perfectly. Jasmine is trying to reconcile herself with her boyfriend's lack of commitment and trying not to be jealous of her soon to be married sister. Maudie is making decisions about her future and feeling very angry about what she sees as her dad's abandonment. Lara, after selflessly devoting herself to her daughters for the last twenty years is tentatively taking the first steps towards a new relationship herself. There's a lot at stake for all of them and then of course, there's always the wedding. Is Eve about to make the biggest mistake of her life or does she know exactly what she is doing? You will have to read 'Daughters' in order to find out what happens to all of these fascinating characters.
'Daughters' is a very enjoyable story and will surely appeal to anyone who is interested in reading about the complexities of relationships. This book has them all but at heart there lies the strongest of them all - a mother's relationship with her daughters.
I am grateful to the publisher for sending me a copy to review.
'Daughters' is currently available in paperback on amazon for only £3.86 (May 2012).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk