Monday 1 July 2024

Book ~ "From a Good Home" (2016) Trudi Johnson

From Goodreads ~ Every family has its secrets. 

In 1935, Hannah Parsons left her home in Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, at the age of seventeen to work in service for Charles and Virginia Sinclair, a wealthy St. John’s family. While working for them, Hannah catches the eye of the patriarch of the household and her life takes an unexpected turn. 

Now sixty years later, Charles Sinclair has passed and his last living will and testament is about to throw his family into turmoil. His children and grandchildren learn that no family is as perfect as it seems and that some secrets refuse to stay buried forever.

In 1935, Hannah left her village in Newfoundland to work for Charles and Virginia Sinclair, a wealthy family hours away in St. John's. She's never been away from home but felt it was a good chance to grow and learn about life away from her large impoverished family.

Sixty years later, Charles Sinclair is a widower and on his deathbed. His younger daughter, Jeanne, has been taking care of him. When he passes on, his will clashes with his last promise to Jeanne. Jeanne has been bitter for years ... her husband had left her and she has driven Joe and Lauren, her adult children, away ... so this betrayal by her father hits her hard. As the will is read and coincidental gossip is exchanged, secrets from the past start coming out.

I liked this story and the way the secrets were slowly revealed. I thought the writing style was okay, though a bit stiff and unnatural. Whether they were rich like Jeanne and her family and more lower class like Joe and Lauren's friends, the way they spoke seemed like I was reading a book set in aristocratic England rather than Newfoundland or Canada. For example, everyone including Joe and Lauren and their friends called their parents "Mother" and "Father" rather than "Mom" and "Dad". It was written in third person perspective depending on where the action was.

There were a lot of characters and it was hard to keep track sometimes of who they were ... a guide in the beginning would have been helpful. I found Jeanne was a bit extreme. Growing up, she was her father's favourite but her mother was cold and unemotional, which is how Jeanne chose to be. She didn't seem to get along with anyone, including her children and her only sister. I liked that the story took place in St. John's and as I've been there, I knew where the action was most of the time.

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