Review: 'Postcards From the Past' by Marcia Willett (2014)
Siblings Billa and Ed share their beautiful, grand old childhood home in rural Cornwall. Their lives are uncomplicated. With family and friends nearby and their free and easy living arrangements, life seems as content as can be.
But when postcards start arriving from a sinister figure they thought belonged well and truly in their pasts, old memories are stirred. Why is he contacting them now? And what has he been hiding all these years?
Several weeks ago I received a surprise review copy of Marcia Willett's latest release, 'Postcards From the Past.' I just love receiving books in the post, especially when I have no idea what is actually inside the package! Occasionally I am lucky enough to receive review copies from publishers which I didn't request, and these book packages are always lovely surprises. It provides me with the chance to discover new authors and pick up books I perhaps would have never read otherwise. I was also quite curious to check out a Marcia Willett book, because my mother is a big fan of her novels, which of course means I had high hopes!
Siblings Edward and Billa spent their wonderful childhood in a small village in Cornwall where they still live together in their beloved childhood home, not too far from their half-brother Dom with whom they have a strong bond as well. The three of them enjoy their calm and simple lives which are filled with friends, family and comfort. Suddenly, this changes as strange postcards start to arrive from someone from their past; someone they have no need to see again, but it soon starts to appear like they won't have a choice when the past is about to collide with the present.
One of the first things I noticed while reading this novel was the author's impressive skill to set the scene; the story is set in Cornwall and the landscape is described in convincing detail which made me long for a trip to the Cornish coast straight away. The characters and their background stories fascinated me as well and I was looking forward to learning more about Ed, Billa and Dom's lives. In contrast to the blurb, there is another storyline featured in the novel; one that focuses on Dom's goddaughter, Tilly. Tilly has left her London job and is back in Cornwall to get back on her feet again and find a new challenge in her life. She's working together with a friend to help out elderly people in the neighbourhood who need help with their computers. She's asked to build a new website for the convent in the village and that's where Tilly finds much more than she initially expects. I warmed easily to Tilly and really enjoyed reading about her life and the decisions she has to make.
While the novel definitely started off in a good way, with interesting characters and two promising storylines, I found the story dragging a bit. It was quite slow-paced and while there was a touch of romance and a touch of mystery, it wasn't enough to keep me captivated throughout the entire novel. Other reviewers who are more familiar with Marcia Willett's work have said this is not one of her best novels, so I look forward to picking up another one of her works and hopefully that will manage to enthuse me a bit more. I did enjoy the story, but in my personal opinion there didn't happen enough to really keep my attention until the very end. Overall, 'Postcards From the Past' is a light and slow-paced read with a wonderful cast of characters; quite enjoyable, but unfortunately not as entertaining and captivating as I had hoped it would be.