Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experience in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.
I didn’t realize that this book would incorporate characters from another Joubert book I had previously read, so it was a very pleasant surprise to visit with old friends. I was excited to read more about post-WWII South Africa and learn more about the people. While The Child of the River dealt more with legal issues and segregation in South Africa, this one included medical care. We take polio vaccine for granted, so it was so interesting to imagine a time in which polio was a terrifying disease.
I don’t always enjoy books in which the scene shifts from character to character because readers do not always get a complete picture of each character and it ends up being disappointing when reading about a different character after becoming acquainted with the first one. However, Joubert does a magnificent job of fully developing all of her characters. Perhaps it is because she was a teacher, but I always feel like I learn something from her books.
There were many unexpected twists and turns in this book. I love it when a book makes me say out loud, “Oh no” while I am reading it because something happens out of the blue that I don’t see coming.
I would love to read a novel where readers can learn more about Annabel and why she made some of the choices she did; it would be interesting to read about the role of women jounalists at that time.
I can’t wait to read the next book by Joubert; she is such an amazing storyteller. If you are looking for a quick read with intriguing characters, you will love this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.