06 Mar The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore
Three sisters, a traumatic childhood – will it bind or divide them?
The Garnett Girls are Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, three sisters brought up on the Isle of Wight by their mother after their father deserted them Rachel was just ten.
Arguably, mother Margo is also a Garnett girl – she’s as much part of the story as her three daughters, for her experiences have shaped them to be the women they are.
We meet them as adults. Rachel, happily married with two little daughters, lives in the old family home, Sandcove, while her mother has moved to a smaller cottage a short distance away.
Imogen, an up-and-coming playwright, looks ready to settle down with boyfriend Richard.
Sasha, youngest and most independent of the sisters, lives in London with husband Phil.
All seem happy and stable, but under the surface tensions bubble in their relationships with their partners, with each other and with Margo.
There’s deep-seated friction in their different memories of a childhood ruined by their alcoholic father’s abandonment of them, Margo’s descent into depression and her refusal to forgive him – or even speak about him.
The Garnett Girls are a pack
Has this lack of a father strengthened the sisters’ bonds?
Certainly, the Garnett Girls are a pack, often divided, but never wholly separated, no matter how hurtful thoughtless words and actions from each and every one of them threatens their relationship.
Therein lies the strength of the story. It is essentially about sibling bonds, further explored by rebellious teenage Margo’s relationship with her sister Alice.
I enjoyed it so much because each sister is so very different – Rachel so cool on the surface, Imogen so conflicted, Sasha so feisty, yet vulnerable in so many ways.
Margo is a delightful character – though deeply flawed in some ways, she remains true to herself and to her daughters. Her passion and wild, often unpredictable behaviour lends a delicious insouciance to the story.
Atmospheric, dramatic and moving
The descriptions of Sandcove, the family home, are rich and atmospheric. Once Margo’s childhood home, then her holiday home before reverting to her single-family home, it makes a convincing backdrop to a family that on the surface might seem privileged in terms of wealth and position, but have the same problems as any other family – sibling rivalry, resentment, rebellion and secrets – some that might be better left unshared.
The plot moves along at a good pace, tacking between past and present and shifting points of view between Margo, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, allowing the reader to get to know them all individually, and as a family.
This is a character-led story with plenty tension and drama along the way, making it an engrossing and very satisfying read.
An exceptionally good debut from Georgina Moore.
The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore is published by HQ in hardback, ebook and
About the Author
Georgina Moore grew up in London and lives on a houseboat on the River Thames with her partner, two children and Bomber, the Border Terrier. The Garnett Girls is her first novel and is set on the Isle of Wight, where Georgina and her family have a holiday houseboat called Sturdy.
Follow her on Twitter @PublicityBooks
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers HarperCollins HQ for the copy of the book
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
More Family Drama to read