By Sarah Scholefield
Ezra had it all when he died. A good job. A nice house. His loving wife, Grace.
Grace doesn’t even realise she’s struggling to keep herself together. Until Torin turns up in Redferne Lane. It’s been nearly two years since Grace has seen Torin. Since Ezra’s funeral. Now Torin is back in her life, emotions from the past are resurfacing and Grace begins to realise elements of her life are going wrong. She’s not sure she can take control.
But Grace isn’t the only one with problems in Redferne Lane. Josie has a husband and young family to contend with. Ada is facing the difficulties of old age. Jerome thinks he’s found the perfect girl. Eliza just wants to grow up. And Torin isn’t sure he should have what he wants. They all begin to turn to Grace for answers. Can Grace look beyond her own difficulties and help those around her, even while she’s trying to save herself?
I don’t often read romance novels – but Redferne Lane was a book I found to be gentle, warm and really enjoyable. From a writer’s perspective I found the structure and use of time really interesting, with half the story moving forward chronologically interspersed with chapters that go back in time, illuminating the backstory of the protagonist’s relationship with Ezra and his brother Torin. Great for a weekend read!
Redferne Lane tells the story of young widow Grace who is grieving the loss of her husband Ezra. She is not coping well at all and has all but cut herself off from everyone, turning up late for work if at all and making all kinds of errors. She gets by on an ill advised cocktail of pills, cigarettes and alcohol. The reappearance of Ezra’s brother, Torin, brings back all kinds of uncomfortable memories for her. However, he may just be the person who manages to force her to live again. As Grace starts to get involved with the other residents of Redferne Lane, she realises she’s not the only one with problems to face.
The structure of the book is really rather clever. The story is told in two timelines with that of the present moving forward in time, while that in the past moves backwards in time. Yet somehow they come together, with the past of course explaining the present.
Grace is a fascinating character. You really get to understand her and get a feel for her grief and guilt. She is her own worst enemy, which she comes to realise to throughout the book. Through finally being forced to get involved with the lives of her neighbours, some of whom are family through her marriage to Ezra, she begins to slowly heal from her past pain and to look forward to a different kind of future. There’s plenty of drama throughout the book with a budding romance between truculent teens Eliza and Jerome, tending to her her elderly neighbour Ada who despite her failing physical health is certainly still one feisty character and helping out with her sister in law who has two young sons and is about to have her third child. Torin is a very significant part of the story in both the past and the present and is a very well drawn character. Like Grace, he is not without his faults and the two have a lot to come to terms with regarding Ezra and their shared past.
I enjoyed reading Redferne Lane which I found really compelling. The author made her characters and their lives seem vividly real to me. I will be looking out for more from this author in the future.
I love this book!
What a way to start my Saturday morning! The story follows the life of Grace after her husband’s death, Ezra. She’d like to waste away and drown in the memories they had, but when his elder brother, Torin, comes knocking on her doorstep, two years after his funeral…it all comes tumbling down and suddenly she cannot stop her heart from reeling with emotions she’d buried years ago.
The take on characters with a Scottish accent was great. Torin’s wit, reluctance to step in and sweep Gracie off her feet, the struggles Noah and Josie face- all made this one great story to read.
You know they say “every family has drama,” well, this one was quite a good read, because it involved an elderly neighbour who happened to be the voice of reason and calm.
So, this book’s classified as romance and women’s fiction- but it does make for a good laid back weekend read! Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. It was a pleasure being immersed in Gracie’s world and being with the Redferne’s as grieved for Ezra.