Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Publication: 22 June 2016 by BooksGoSocial
Acquisition: e-galley courtesy of the publisher/NetGalley
(From the Publisher)
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.
I really enjoyed this read. I did find it was a bit difficult at first to believe a woman could have this whole other life and own a house without anyone ever finding out, but then I have heard real life stories of people doing just that. So I guess you would have to be really strong at keeping both lives separate, and I just went with it, which I didn’t regret.
I don’t usually read much contemporary, so I was pleasantly surprised. The Taste of Air is marketed as “romance”, but don’t let that fool you. Although there is romance in the novel, it is part of the story and isn’t there for the sake of it, so I wasn’t bothered by it at all. I would have loved to spend more time with Mary in 1968 in Vietnam, as those were my favourite parts, but that might just be me being a historical fiction lover.
What really struck me in The Taste of Air is how beautiful the writing is, especially the descriptions of nature, which are very poetic. You can feel the love Gail Cleare has for nature herself in the way she writes about it – the sights, the sounds, the smells, you get everything. The characters are human, with their unique flaws, and you can identify with every single one of them. I was thinking about them, trying to pick a favourite, but I think I just like them all. There are so many twists and turns in the story, you’re just carried along. Gail Cleare is skilled at switching from one character to the other and from one time period to another one. It’s great writing.
I usually dislike multiple points of view and moving through different time periods, I like linear stories. But I have to say it seems Ms Cleare has cured me of that! I would love more historical fiction from her.