This is a review of the 2006 book 'The Mill House' by Susan Lewis.
I have had this one on the to read pile for ages and finally picked it up as I'm cracking on with the reading now and resting up only a few weeks away from having a baby.
I thought the cover of the book looked a bit dreary which is why I probably took a while to read it but I'm really glad I did now!
A bit about the storyline
The story follows mother of two Julia who is a struggling author but wife to the successful Joshua who has Ferrari, yachts and a big house in London. He is untouchable in his work and an amazing lover but Julia has a few issues about her childhood that she is trying to unpick and begins to pus Josh away, so he turns to her best friend for some action in the sack and when Julia finds this out in the same 24 hours that her father dies, she has a bit of a meltdown.
The story is a bit of a mystery as we find out Julia has been estranged from her father for the last 25 years and she doesn't know why he left and her mother refuses to talk about it. She spends a lot of time after the funeral sorting out his house in Cornwall and effects and in doing so begins to unravel the past.
There are three themes going on throughout: The mystery of what happened to her father; the growing friendship between Julia and her father's solicitor "Fen" and her family and the rocky relationship and infidelity between her and Josh and her children.
I was a bit irritated by how much of the story was interrupted by constant phone calls between the families and characters. I know they were physically apart a lot of the time so it had to be done this time but it was just annoying to me how much of the book is narrated by phone conversations. It was like the mobile phone had just been invented or something! All interspersed with a few terse text messages. Which to be fair may be more accurate of modern life than ever but I just found it annoying that everything is dropped to answer the phone when there's sleep to be had and work to be done. (That may say more about me and my pet hates than the book actually!).
So, I did say at the beginning that I was glad I read this book and I realise that so far I've just slagged it off... sorry about that because I did actually enjoy it, the storyline kept me guessing and I really wanted things to work out for the main character Julia throughout it.
Julia makes some obvious mistakes and it's down to her being emotional and torn between the family dynamics. She is drawn into temptation on several occasions yet you find yourself sympathising with her situation.
Would I recommend? Yes, the village and house in Cornwall is delightfully described and this is due to the author spending time there writing the book. The characters are well described and all have their flaws but at the same time are likable. I'd have liked more on Fen as she seems to spend all her time listening to Julia's woes and in a true friendship there needs to be more shared experiences but I realise the author was focusing on Julia and couldn't divert too much.
You can pick up this book for £5.49 on Amazon. My copy was 406 pages and is a bigger size book and font which I find I can read quicker (not sure that's a good thing though!). It's a perfect escape for a few hours but not a book that will change your life.