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3 February 2017

Review: 'The Taste of Air' by Gail Cleare (2016)

A simple phone call disrupts Nell Williams’s well-ordered life. Her mother, Mary, is in a hospital in Vermont. But her mother is supposed to be safely tucked away in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, so Nell can’t fathom why she would be so far from home. 

After notifying her sister, Bridget, Nell hops on a plane and rushes to her mother’s side. There, she discovers that her mother has been living a second life. Mary has another home and a set of complex relationships with people her daughters have never met. 

When Nell and Bridget delve deeper into their mother’s lakeside hideaway, they uncover a vault of family secrets and the gateway to change for all three women.

One of the things I am most certainly going to miss about book blogging is the way it always managed to bring certain books into my life that I normally probably would have never read or perhaps even have heard about. Today I've got a review to share of a novel of which I also didn't know it existed until I was contacted by author Gail Cleare herself. I received a free review copy of the book (thanks, Gail!) in exchange for an honest review, and here we are! I found myself in the mood for a women's fiction read about family a few weeks ago, and the description of this book confirmed this was indeed the right read to dive into at that time, so I hoped I would end up enjoying it...!

Nell Williams is one of those people who tries her very best to have everything in her life as much in order and planned as possible, mainly for the benefit of her family. But things are suddenly disrupted when Nell receives a phone call telling her her mother Mary has been admitted to a hospital in Vermont. Though the location is a bit of a surprise since her mother lives in an assisted-living facility in a different state, Nell immediately travels down there to be with her mother. While staying in Vermont, Nell soon discovers her mother was actually leading a second life, including another group of people she was very close with. Together with her sister Bridget Nell dives into the past to discover what exactly their mother was hiding from them and most importantly: why?

I love it when you start reading a novel and within the first few chapters you are already really captivated by the story and its characters and you just feel as if you could continue reading until the last page, just because the book has got you in its hold. Over the years I've come to realise that there are more books that do not have that quality than ones that do, so I was a happy reader when I got that exact feeling when starting Gail Cleare's 'The Taste of Air.' I really enjoyed the combination of a women's fiction read focusing on family and friendship, but with an added mystery element to it; a big secret around which the entire story is written. I have to say I was definitely curious and didn't want to put the book down, just so I could read on and discover more about where the story was going and what would happen to the different characters.

I really enjoyed the fact that this is quite clearly a character-driven novel and the characters are therefore also one of the best parts of the book. I liked both Nell and Bridget, and also their mother Mary, whom the reader gets to know quite well through the several flashbacks in the novel. Next to that there are some interesting secondary characters, and everything is told in chapters of a good length (not too long, not too short) and a comfortable and well-paced writing style. I have definitely been convinced by author Gail Cleare and already look forward to her next read. Overall, 'The Taste of Air' is a compelling and warm women's fiction read about family, friendship and romance; a novel which I loved and was sad to finish!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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