Sunday 26 March 2017

Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine

Published by Transworld on March 23, 2017

Where The Wild Cherries Grow is a book that reads as beautifully as it looks. And you know, honestly, sometimes those beautifully written books have no substance. No depth to the story, no mystery to each character, nothing to absorb yourself into other than beautiful words. Where The Wild Cherries Grow could have been one of those books, but it definitely wasn’t. There was more than enough substance between the pages with a multi-layered story full of mystery and hidden truths, a life that has fallen off the radar but is delivered to us as the reader in a delicious manner. Laura Madeleine’s writing is gorgeous, but the story was even better.

The narrative transports us seamlessly back and forth in time between 1919 and 1969. In 1919, we meet Emeline Vane, whose life has been shattered by the war. We see her flee from the life she knows, a life of sadness and despair. Fifty years later, we meet young solicitor Bill Perch. Bill is absolutely thrilled to finally have been given a job of some interest to do. Here we discover the enchanting Hallerton House, a place that is ready to go on the market, so long as Bill can find enough evidence to prove that Emeline is dead. But there is much more to Emeline’s life than that.

It didn't take me long to be drawn into this book and the mystery of Emeline Vane. I was fascinated by her character and her disappearance and found her chapters really engaging as I longed to find out what had happened to her. Could she really have been dead all those years? The further into reading this book I was, the more intrigued I became and I found myself lost inside the book, hours of my day disappeared in a flash as I escaped into Where the Wild Cherries Grow.

Whilst Perch is lead to believe that Emeline is dead, the story doesn’t seem as black and white as that to him. One night he stays up reading through her diary and he is utterly absorbed and determined to find out more about this woman and what really happened to her. I loved how he had that sleepless night reading Emeline’s diary as his actions echoed my own. I, too, was hooked on Emeline’s story and knew there was much more to her life than what was first thought.

Another thing I absolutely loved about this book was the author’s writing style. Laura Madeleine’s writing is truly beautiful with every moment brought to life by the description and evocative detail she uses. Everything is so vividly told and the story came to life right in front of me as I envision every little detail. This is my first book read by this author but it definitely won't be my last. I loved the beauty of her storytelling and how she built up the layers of mystery and intrigue to a completely gripping level which had me eagerly reading on to discover more. Early on we read extracts that Emeline has written in her diary which piqued my interest, but in the second part of this book where we get to meet Emeline properly, this is the moment I became really engrossed in the book and I spent the entire morning in bed reading until the book was finished.

Bill Perch was another character who I liked instantly and grew to like even more as the story progressed. Though this book is about Emeline, Bill’s life became important to me too. I loved seeing him explore Hallerton House. This place was described so atmospherically. From the crows to the strange noises and the shadows, the dust and the damp, everything about the place was captivating. In fact, everything about this book was captivating. There is also a big foodie element to the narrative that had me salivating with every page. Do not read this book on an empty stomach! But definitely do pick up a copy of Where The Wild Cherries Grow – you won’t regret it.

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