“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Harriet Evans / ISBN: 0007350236 / Publication Date: 2011 / Publisher: Harper „
Having recently separated from her husband and seen her business plunge into difficulty, Natasha isn't in the best of moods when she travels to her grandmother's funeral, and it doesn't help that there are some long-standing issues within the family that are bound to come to a head when they're all in the same place. Natasha's aunt, Cecily, died as a teenager and there has always been some mystery surrounding her death. When Natasha comes across the first part of the diary that Cecily wrote during the summer leading up to her death, she starts to build up a better picture of the aunt that she never knew. Can she get hold of the second part of the diary that contains the truth about what happened that day? Back in London, can she get her marriage and business back on track?
I must admit that when I initially bought this book, I had it down as a chick lit offering and the cover doesn't help that much. In actual fact, it goes a fair bit deeper than your average chick lit. Natasha's family is very much multi-cultural, with her grandfather having come over from India and as she starts to read Cecily's diary, the reality of being so 'exotic' in 1960s Britain becomes very much apparent and issues like racism come to the fore. This is quite a key part of the book in both the past and present sections of the book.
We obviously meet Natasha in the present day as she's preparing for the funeral but on discovery of the diary, we're transported into Cecily's world directly through the diary before returning to the present again. This is a great touch as it feels as though you're immersed in Cecily's world just as Natasha would be reading it and as she never knew Cecily either, it's as though both the reader and Natasha is 'meeting' her for the first time. While there is some mystery about Cecily's death, what really happened isn't the main thrust of the plot as there are also sub-plots in Natasha's present day life and getting to know all of the present day characters 'in the past' (if that makes sense!) in the summer in which Cecily died.
I liked Natasha as a character, despite her being quite a complicated character but as I read on, I could see why she had grown up as she had! For me, Cecily was the best character though and I was quite fascinated by her.