Genre: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary (from Goodreads): From internationally bestselling author Kimberley Freeman comes a captivating new novel about a scandalous attraction, a long-forgotten secret, and a place where two women’s lives are changed forever.
It’s 1926 and Violet Armstrong is a waitress at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel, where Australia’s glitterati are spending a winter vacation. Among the guests who remain are Sam and Flora Honeychurch-Blacks, a wealthy brother and sister ensconced in the hotel for an extended stay. Violet and Sam have an attraction that is as passionate as it is forbidden as the hotel closes down for the winter season. When a snowstorm moves in, trapping them all, no one could have imagined what would unfold. The group must let their secrets be buried by the snow, but all snow melts, exposing the truth beneath…
Eighty-eight years later, Lauren Beck takes a job at a café in the Blue Mountains, built as the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s return to grandeur. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect overseeing the project. As their budding relationship grows, Lauren discovers a series of passionate love letters dating back to 1926 that allude to a whirlwind affair—and a tragic secret. Lauren begins to unravel this long-forgotten mystery, but will discovering the truth finally make her brave enough to take a risk that could change her entire life?
Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, Kimberley Freeman has created a complex tale of mystery, heartbreak, and love that will keep you guessing with every twist until the very last page.
Review: I really enjoyed reading two of Freeman's previous novels, so I went into this book with high expectations. Sadly, this book didn't hold my interest anywhere near as much as her other books. I actually put this book down in the middle and read a completely different book before picking this one up again, something that I rarely ever do.
This book follows the growing trend in women's fiction of telling the story of two women living in two different time periods. I was interested in learning about how the wealthy and the servant class interacted in 1920s Australia, and the descriptions of the grand hotel rooms and guests were beautifully written. But the characters just didn't come to life for me like they normally do in Freeman's novels. I found Violet too naive, and Lauren too wishy-washy. By the last third of the book, I was feeling more interested and invested in the characters, and I did enjoy the ending.
Rating: 3.5 stars