14 Apr Family For Beginners by Sarah Morgan
Has Flora found the love she’s been looking for all her life?
When Flora meets widower Jack, she is instantly smitten – and so is he. The only thing standing in the way of their happiness is his two daughters – will either of them accept Flora into their lives?
Flora certainly hopes so. Orphaned at eight herself, she understands the pain 17-year-old Izzy and eight-year-old Molly are going through. Their mother Becca has been dead less than a year, after all.
A calamitous flood at her apartment leads to Flora moving into Jack’s home, where Izzy, in particular, tests her to the limit.
Jack, as oblivious to the undercurrents of tension as most men would be, then arranges the family’s usual annual summer holiday to the Lake District, staying with Becca’s best friend Clare and her family. To Izzy’s disgust, he includes Flora in his plans.
Flora is rightly apprehensive – it seems she’s competing with a perfect wife, mother and best friend, sanctified by death.
But of course Becca wasn’t all perfect. There are hints that there were secrets in her life – secrets that have spilled over to affect Izzy in particular. Together Flora, Jack and Clare need to gain the teenager’s confidence if she is ever to accept that it’s time for the whole family to move on, that not only her father deserves a second chance at happiness, she does, too.
As the weeks unfold, events reach crisis point – will Flora be able to crack Izzy’s obstinacy and gain her confidence? Without it, Jack’s family can never be hers – and her own heart will be broken forever.
One one level a romance, this story peels back the layers of a family coming to terms with grief to reveal the individual pain of all the mourners – including Becca’s friend, Clare. The hint of a huge secret is presented at the beginning, adding to the suspense and tension of the usual will they/won’t they get together of the two main characters.
But is Flora the main character? She’s a very attractive woman, sensitive to others and battling her own insecurities. Yet, for all her complexities, Izzy is drawn so sensitively that she is the one I feel for most in this narrative. She’s battling demons while trying to be the perfect daughter and sister, and your heart aches for her. Yes, you want Flora to be happy, but it is even more important that Izzy finds peace of mind, too.
With compelling characters, a narrative that takes us from Jack and Flora’s native New York to the charms of the Lake District, and a tightly woven plot with equal elements of romance and suspense, this is a heart-warming, compelling read. I loved it.
Published by HQ