Thursday, 27 November 2014

Return to Fourwinds by Elisabeth Gifford

Elisabeth Gifford’s novel, Return to Fourwinds is a family drama set across two generations, going back to the evocative setting of Valencia, Spain in the early 1930s. This is home to young Ralph Colchester, whose mother is a kind of "housekeeper" to the English banker, Max Gardiner. Ralph pines for his father, who has abandoned them to live in South America, but Max takes an avuncular interest in him.

When Ralph is sent to school in England, World War II is not far away, and next we are following the story of Peter, a poor evacuee from Manchester, sent to live with Alice Hanbury’s family. It’s a totally different world, with servants, plentiful food, music and conversation and Peter’s brief sojourn here will change his life for ever.

Switching forward in time, the plot also follows the imminent nuptials of Peter’s daughter Sarah, and Ralph and Alice’s son, Nicky, at the Colchester home of Fourwinds. As the bride experiences wedding jitters, two devastating secrets are set to emerge.

Yes, it’s one of those secrets from the past that upset the apple-cart sorts of novels, and there are a lot of characters that perhaps could have had a novel all their own. But the writing is flawless and the period settings nicely brought to life.

Gifford is emerging as a reliable author of period/family drama, producing sympathetic characters and an engrossing plot. Perhaps this book could have benefited from a little less melodrama and a little more character development, but it is an entertaining read nonetheless.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: Return to Fourwinds

No comments:

Post a Comment