Written by: Meg Waite Clayton
Published by: Ballantine Books an imprint of Simon and Schuster July 16, 2013
Length: 304 pages
Source: E galley via Edelweiss from publisher
It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves “The Wednesday Sisters”—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows nearly nothing about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Julie and Anna Page, two other daughters of “The Wednesday Sisters,” who offer to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects. Yet what Hope finds will reveal a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.
Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past. (from Goodreads)
I need to first admit I haven’t read the first book, The Wednesday Sisters, where all the characters in this book were first conceived. I had every intention of reading it before this one, but my e galley time was running out, and I wanted to read it. I recommend you read The Wednesday Sisters first, but rest assured that if it’s been a while or you haven’t read it The Wednesday Daughters is so wonderful on it’s own.
There is so much to love about this book. First the setting is in England, a country I know little about, but the landscape and details are gorgeous. The Lake District is filled with old homes and cottages and stories and history. There are a few ghost stories too. It is a land made for long walks and weather that changes quickly. Hope’s mother Ally was in love with everything Beatrix Potter, and we are treated to all kinds of snippits from her letters to family and friends and notes as she was writing. This area was home to Beatrix Potter. Ms. Clayton’s admiration for Ms. Potter’s work is clear. Having my own love affair with Peter Rabbit and his friends made these small peeks very endearing. I also learned of puzzle boxes in this book…you have to read to learn more.
The love and friendship shared by Hope, Anna Page and Julie is evident in all that they do. These women grew up with each other, their mothers mothering all of them. They are as close as family. I was comforted by their concern and compassion for one another. Anna Page and Julie there to support Hope after the loss of her mother, and as it often happens each of them also coming to their own realizations of help needed. Ms. Clayton has blended and woven their stories oh so well. I wanted to be of their friend….captured in their warmth. There are also men…sexy older men who know themselves, Robbie the boat man and Graham, neighbor who knew Ally well. Men who hold secrets and seek their own comfort. I liked these men!!
While this was my first book of Meg Waite Clayton, it will certainly not be my last. I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars, I loved it. I could not have been more sad when it ended…I wanted to go home with someone and have the story continue.