Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron

I have had a busy week- I read 4 new books and want to tell you all about them. Here is the first pick for you to read…..

Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron is definitely a book to read…think Daphne du Maurier meets  Jane Eyre in the 1950’s . This fascinating story is about Coral, a private nurse, hired  to take care of the matriarch who is dying of cancer in this small English town. The isolated house is contaminated by bitterness, loneliness and loss from the people who dwell there. Mrs. Prence, the housekeeper, is a cranky old woman who tries to make trouble for Coral, and Major Clement Hart, the son,  is a lonely WWII veteran who is unmarried, has a limp and carries wounds from the war and  life.

The themes of loss, repressed homosexuality, and partial truths or ” lies of omission” permeate the landscape of this story. I don’t want to give too much away but each character’s personal history is withheld and revealed at moments that makes you want to scream instructions to each character- like “don’t do that” or “tell them the information”- a bit maddening for the reader on the sidelines. There is a scene where Coral walks in the forest and sees children doing something that leaves you horrified when she walks away. Or witness the time that Coral purchases a dress and is so frustrated by the impossibility of zippering herself up that she storms back to the dress shop to return it.

I was incredulous at some of the behaviors of the characters but I was hooked on the story- I had to find out what happens. The writing is rich with imagery. One reviewer said it best: “by the end of this absorbing story of love missed, love lost, love found, I was thinking that this must be what it’s like to slip into a bath of hot tears “( NY Times Book Review, Dominique Browning, March 16, 2012). I agree. The book did not lead me to where I thought the characters would end up and I liked the pleasant surprises. That’s my 2 cents.

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