Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman

From internationally bestselling author Kimberley Freeman comes a captivating new novel about a scandalous attraction, a long-forgotten secret, and a place where two women’s lives are changed forever. 

It’s 1926 and Violet Armstrong is a waitress at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel, where Australia’s glitterati are spending a winter vacation. Among the guests who remain are Sam and Flora Honeychurch-Blacks, a wealthy brother and sister ensconced in the hotel for an extended stay. Violet and Sam have an attraction that is as passionate as it is forbidden as the hotel closes down for the winter season. When a snowstorm moves in, trapping them all, no one could have imagined what would unfold. The group must let their secrets be buried by the snow, but all snow melts, exposing the truth beneath…

Eighty-eight years later, Lauren Beck takes a job at a cafĂ© in the Blue Mountains, built as the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s return to grandeur. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect overseeing the project. As their budding relationship grows, Lauren discovers a series of passionate love letters dating back to 1926 that allude to a whirlwind affair—and a tragic secret. Lauren begins to unravel this long-forgotten mystery, but will discovering the truth finally make her brave enough to take a risk that could change her entire life?

Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, Kimberley Freeman has created a complex tale of mystery, heartbreak, and love that will keep you guessing with every twist until the very last page.

 Paperback, 416 pages 
Published August 4th 2015 
by Touchstone
**** 1/2

I discovered Kimberly Freeman on my search for Australian authors. Previously I have read her book Wildflower Hill in the audio format. The reader did a great job with that book and I was hoping that more of her works would be available in that format, sadly that is the only one. I took the plunge with Evergreen Falls hoping it would yield the same results.

I love books that have dual time periods, the ones that have a common denominator connecting the two time periods. With Evergreen Falls the connecting thread is the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel. Beginning in 1926, with a prologue that sucked me right in, to present day, as this once magnificent hotel is being returned to its former glory days. Usually with these type of books I find myself favoring one storyline over the other, but with Evergreen Falls I found myself immersed in both of them though more time seems to be focussed on the past.

While there was some predictability to this book it did not take away from my enjoyment as I found the authors writing style kept me reading. This was atmospheric in that I could get a real sense of this hotel, those it caters to and the staff, feeling the hostility, prejudice and natural elements that all played a strong role here.

I enjoyed watching the transformation of both Violet and Lauren, both growing up with overbearing parents, confused about their place in the world.  They make mistakes  and are forced to deal with what life throws at them, both realistic and believable.

Kimberly Freeman is definitely an author I will continue to read and recommend. My copy of this book is from my personal library and part of my '2017 read from my TPR pile' challenge.

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