Helena and Liddy were old school friends who work one summer as au pairs in Ischia, an idyllic island off the coast of Southern Italy. The events of that summer ultimately puts an end to their friendship. Many years later, back home in Liverpool, Liddy bumps into Helena’s adult daughter, Allie, she decides to use the opportunity to build some bridges, regardless of any secrets Helena has kept from her daughter.
The book is told in the third person but we do seem to get a better idea of what Liddy, and quite often Allie, is thinking rather than Helena. For that reason I didn’t really like Helena as a character, as her limited page time made her harder to engage with, and I suspect that may be intentional on the part of the author.
The book has illicit affairs, summer sun, memories of summers of friendships, prison stays and kidnap plots as strands in the story. The story flips between the present day and the past easily, without ever being confusing. It is easy to keep up with the characters and who they are across the chapters. There is a little bit of romance, but this book has decided to keep that as a secondary element to the story, making it a slightly meatier read than typical summer chick lit and for that reason I do recommend it as a holiday read.
At 416 pages this is a good sized book and you have plenty of opportunity to get your teeth into the story. The writing is light and engaging but saying that, I was happy to put the book down, but I was equally happy to pick it up and get back into it. I think the book will also appeal across the ages, although with female protagonist, it is likely to appeal to a female readership more.