Book Review: A Place For Us by Harriet Evans


Title: A Place for Us
Author: Harriet Evans
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Pages: 450
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary

From international bestselling author Harriet Evans, an engrossing new novel about a woman who, on the eve of her eightieth birthday, decides to reveal a secret that may destroy her perfect family.

The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day.

When Martha, a wife and mother of three, sits down one late summer’s morning to write out the invitations to her eightieth birthday celebration, she knows that what she is planning to reveal at the party could ruin the idyllic life she and her husband David have spent over fifty years building…

But she has to let her family know what she and David have sacrificed. She can’t live a lie any more.

The invitation goes out far and wide, calling her three children and their families back home to Winterfold, their rambling house in the heart of the English countryside. They are Bill, the doctor; Florence, the eccentric academic; and Daisy, the child who never fit in. As the story unfolds, each character reveals the secrets, joys, and tragedies they are wrestling with through the confines of the family. What will happen when Martha finally tells the truth?


I was drawn to read A Place for Us by the beautiful cover and the desire to find out the huge secret that has haunted Martha Winter.  In the story, Martha Winter is planning to reveal a huge family secret on her 80th birthday. The chapters in the book go back and forth between the different family members, including Martha’s husband David, their children, and grandchildren. Each chapter includes the family members POV and experiences. At first I thought this was a really interesting way the author allowed the reader to get everyone’s own perception of events. However, I quickly realized that I was having trouble relating and empathizing with the characters. This continued throughout the read and I think it had to do with the fact that there was such a wide range of characters and settings within the book. The back and forth between characters made me feel like I was never able to get a connection between the characters and events. Right when I was beginning to feel comfortable with a character, the next character was introduced which made the read very confusing.

Despite all of the above, Harriet’s writing was fantastic. The characters were structured well with remarkable depth to each of them. I truly felt sadden that I was not able to connect to any of them. With so many characters I was only able to understand somewhat of the story line behind Martha and Bill, the mother and father of the Winter family. When it came to their children Bill, Florence, Daisy and their offspring; this is where it got extremely complicated and just overall boring. Personally, the story of Winterfold may have been a bit drawn out in places. And at times, I felt like I was forcing myself to carry on with hopes of something more exciting. I prefer my family dramas more real, scandalous, and heated. I especially like when a story line is full of gasp worthy moments and A Place for Us was just too safe for my liking. This however, will not put me off from reading any of Harriet’s future novels. As I believe the author has an excellent way with words that I’m certain I would enjoy in other reads.

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