Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise…This is the story of Roberta interspersed with the story of Dorothy who is Roberta's Grandmother.

Dorothy has been a widow for many years, her husband her Polish serviceman killed in the line of duty. That is the story fed down the generations of Roberta's family.

Roberta likes to read, and she loves to see what information she can find in books, items that were former bookmarks. Then one day she is reading a letter that has spent decades in a book that was once owned by her Grandmother and all of a sudden there are questions and curiosities to discover.

The letter which had been found in a book, inside a suitcase which had the name label on "Mrs Sinclair" was clearly addressed to her Grandmother by her Grandfather. The date on the letter was after the date in which her Grandfather had been killed in action. Yet who was Mrs Sinclair?

Roberta starts to ask her father some questions, without mentioning the letter. He repeats that as far as he knew his father had been killed in the war. Roberta ponders on whether to ask her Grandmother, who by now was resident in a residential establishment. Dorothy sadly has dementia.

The letter and is central to the characters in this story, and across the pages, we suddenly on occasions head back to the war years and to the early life of Dorothy. The things that happened and are remembered, those that happen and yet forgotten and those that happened and are twisted to weave a different set of events. A family history and background that is shaped because of actions of several people.

This is a great book. Having been in a reading slump for the last six months or so, I have got back to normal and read this book over the space of a few days. The storyline is complex, yet not complicated, the story is told on several levels and for a first novel the author has done remarkably well. This book is a genealogists dream!

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