Famous author Olive Wellwood writes a special private book, bound in different colours, for each of her children. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh, they play in a story book world – but their lives, and those of their rich cousins and their friends, the son and daughter of a curator at the new Victoria and Albert Museum, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets
A difficult book to read – not because of the subject matter, but because it never really engrossed me.
The story is based around the late Victorian/early Edwardian period, against a back drop of the development of the V&A museum and the breakout of the Arts and Crafts movement. Every group of people has secrets from each other – mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, brothers and sisters and each from each other.
The story goes from paragraphs of one sentence, to narrative of whole pages or chapters. Not a lot actually *happens* – people live their lives, secrets are kept and found out and new ones built.
I’ve read other reviews that imply that it gets “better” in the second hald (less sprawl, more happening) but after page 350, and multiple other books glaring at me to be read, then I have to retire this attempt and go elsewhere