8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good news and bad news,
This review is from: The Small Hours (Hardcover)
I'll begin with what I loved about this novel; it's unlikely heroine. Tall, ungainly, with huge feet and flaming red hair and no self-confidence, Harriet has a lot to prove, especially as she has just emerged from years of therapy to help her to come to terms with her abusive childhood. Given a large amount of money, Harriet, with (it would seem) no experience, sets up a small private nursery school, where little girls can play and create and have a marvellous time among idyllic surroundings (perhaps to compensate for her own childhood deprivations?). This was a promising start, and I was looking forward to an absorbing read.
However, the narrative jumps back and forth in time, from the opening of the school to the selling off of its assets several years later within the first few pages, then back to the school, to the illness of Harriet's mother and a glimpse of reconciliation, back to the school again, and finally to the rather abrupt ending....and I found this really frustrating. There is no chronological thread, and the writer seems to lead the reader hither and yon at will. This happens a lot in modern novels, I find, and sometimes it works well. But for me, it spoiled this novel, and although the writing is at times wonderful and Harriet a most sympathetic heroine, this wasn't enough for me.