Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?
I’ve wanted to read a Laura Wood book for so long – partly because BooksNest on YouTube shouts about her work so much and loves her books! When my friend Jo suggested picking this one up as a buddy read, I was so happy to finally read something by her. This one is a kind of retelling/inspired by The Great Gatsby, but there is definitely no need to read it before picking this one up as it works well as a standalone novel.
However, I must say I am glad that I read The Great Gatsby for the first time earlier this year as it did add an extra dynamic to the story for me. I had so much fun reading this one and trying to see where the inspiration had come in for settings, scenes and characters. I was excited to find that this one is set between Cornwall and London instead of New York!
The characters were one of my favourite aspects of this book – I loved Lou as a main character and this is definitely a coming-of-age novel about her last summer before deciding what to do with the rest of her life. As this book is set in the late 1920s, there is a lot of interesting discussions about the pressures of marriage and growing up in that era. My only slight complaint with this book is that it took me a while to get used to the younger narration and the time period – at some points it just didn’t quite click together for me.
I loved the plot and the slight mystery element that was woven throughout – although at times I did wish for a little more emphasis on the mystery itself. As the book went on, I found myself becoming more and more wrapped up within the pages and wanted to read on until the end. I must say I absolutely loved the ending of this one too, it was so beautifully done and made me emotional!
I can’t wait to read more from this author and some of her other retellings – she’s releasing a Pride and Prejudice retelling in 2022 and I’m definitely going to be picking that one up!
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽