1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No one could have predicted what would unfold. When the storm clears they must all keep the devastating secrets hidden.
2014: After years of putting her sick brother's needs before her own, Lauren Beck leaves her home and takes a job at a Blue Mountains cafe, the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel's renovations. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect who is overseeing the project, and an attraction begins to grow. In a wing of the old hotel, Lauren finds a series of passionate love letters dated back to 1926, alluding to an affair - and a shocking secret.
If she can unravel this long-ago mystery, will it make Lauren brave enough to take a risk and change everything in her own life?
Inspired by elements of her grandmother's life, a rich and satisfying tale of intrigue, heartbreak and love from the author of the bestselling Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill.
Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The 1920's is a rich period of history that is fun to harken back to in historical fiction. It's always interesting to see how far we have progressed since that time in terms of social mores and acceptance. Themes such as women considering career goals over the traditional married life, for example, are remarked upon.
At the very heart of the story, the center of everything, is love. Familial love and romantic love, both of which can be burdensome and riddled with obligations, and no matter what, it can still break down, fail, or backfire. But, the funny thing about love, is that is also rewarding, restorative, inspiring, contagious, and comes in all forms. It has the power to steer people towards forgiveness and healing, ultimately leading to freedom and peace, so in the end it is always triumphant, even if the path is hard and rocky.
Many of the characters in the book experience pain and heartache, but I think each person manages to find the key that will unlock the chains holding them captive.
This is a compelling read on many levels, my only complaint being that Lauren’s voice often felt muted. Her romance with Tomas was rushed along at warp speed too, but it was still satisfying. Another thing that stuck out for me was that the story was told without using a lot of harsh language, and the sexual content is handled with taste, giving it a very stylish tone and a polished finish.
There are many topics addressed here that would make for a very interesting discussion for book club members, or for those who have BOTM reads on Goodreads. This book is certainly one historical fiction readers will enjoy, but will also appeal to those who read contemporary fiction, and maybe even for mystery lovers.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kimberley was born in London and her family moved back to Australia when she was three years old. She grew up in Queensland where she currently lives.
Kimberley has written for as long as she can remember and she is proud to write in many genres. She is an award-winning writer in children’s, historical and speculative fiction under her birth name Kim Wilkins. She adopted the pen name Kimberley Freeman for her commercial women’s fiction novels Duet and Gold Dust to honour her maternal grandmother and to try and capture the spirit of the page-turning novels she has always loved to read. Kim has an Honours degree, a Masters degree and a PhD from The University of Queensland where she is also a lecturer. She lives in Brisbane with her young family.