August’s lively meeting was once again held at the home of a Group member, as the Camposol Social Centre remains unavailable for the time being. We discussed the books read in July, which were My Mother’s Silence (by Lauren Westwood) and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (by Hazel Gaynor).
My Mother’s Silence got a somewhat lukewarm review, as it wasn’t very credible and we felt parts of the story were predictable. It is the tale of twins – Ginny who went missing at a beach party some 15 years ago and her sister Skye, now returning to the Highlands having left after the funeral. Everyone in their small community accepted it was an accident, but a body was never recovered and more than one person is haunted by secrets from that fateful night. Skye always thought her mother blamed her for Ginny’s death and so contact between them has been sporadic at best. We felt the title was a bit misleading and a few of us also thought Ginny was still alive…..but it wasn’t the case. How she died wasn’t quite the mystery we’d been led to believe, either! As soon as an artist was mentioned in the book, staying in the Mother’s holiday rental, you knew that was Skye’s love interest…..all rather predictable, but kept alive with some good descriptive writing and an interesting setting in the Western Highlands.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter fared better, although only a few had got round to reading it. This book combines fact with fiction. It’s the true tale of heroine Grace Darling, who helped her father save nine people from the wreck of the steamship ‘Forfarshire’ which foundered off the Farne Islands in September 1838. The book also covers the story of Matilda Emmerson who was sent from Ireland to Newport, Rhode Island in disgrace in 1938. She is to stay with Harriet, a distant relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. Matilda gradually forges a friendship with the reclusive Harriet and finding a discarded portrait, opens a window into Matilda’s family history. The two stories are well entwined and parallels drawn of courage and love. This book was received better by the group, although the happy ending we wanted for Grace is sadly missing.
Our chosen books for August are The Dressmakers Gift by Fiona Valpy and The Minders by John Marrs.
If you are interested in finding out more about Camposol Reading Group, please call Angela on 626 736 874
Our next meeting will be on Thursday September 3rd.