Publishing year: 2004
This is a new book by Maureen Lee.
The main character is Victoria Macara, whose grandparents own a piece of land where her grandfather and his father before him had a transport company. Nowadays in 2001 Victoria only owns the old house where her grandparents lived as she sold the rest of the land to a company, and now her house is surrounded by houses and cottages. Victoria is twenty-seven, a web designer, and she is about to leave for New York as she has found a job there. I wonder if that will happen or maybe something will happen to prevent Victoria from leaving.
Now Victoria is getting to know her new neighbours. There is Rachel Williams, middle-aged, married and with two children. Rachel seems to be quite sociable and she has taken upon herself to organize a barbecue for all the neighbours. Victoria feels that Rachel is insecure, and she realizes that insecurity comes from her husband, Frank, who criticizes all the ideas Rachel comes up with. Frank is in his fifties, and even though he is chubbier and balder than he used to be, he is a flirt, and we have a sample of this feature when he blatantly flirts with one of his new neighbours.
That new neighbour is Sarah Rees-James, a very attractive woman, separated and with three small children. It is clear that Sarah is slumming it after living in wealth; her children appear to be neglected and we can see that this situation overwhelms the woman. However, Sarah has no compunctions in flirting with Frank and we learn that he and Sarah go to the supermarket together and later he even volunteers to do some small jobs for her in the house. We don’t know much about Frank, but Sarah suspects he has lovers, and I wonder if this thing with Sarah is simply harmless flirting or there will be something else later on. I think that both Sarah and Frank will be stupid to start an affair when Frank’s wife lives so close by.
We also get to meet Gareth Moran, who is also into computers, and his wife Debbie seems to spend more than they can afford. The thing is that Gareth is so in love with his wife that he can’t say no to her.
Ernie and Anna Burrows is an elderly married couple. Anna is sick since she was diagnosed multiple sclerosis years ago, and now she has to move around in a wheelchair. Anna seems lovely, and her husband is a nice man whose life is focused on Anna.
The last family we get to know so far is the Jordans. There is Marie and Jack Jordan, who come from Belfast, and they have two sons. The Jordans seems to be running from something. I have the feeling that Jack Jordan was involved in the terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland, and maybe the police is after him. That is why they moved to London, but when one of the boys’ friends recognized them there, they decided to move to Liverpool.
Interesting start. I imagine that the relationships between all these people will bring good stories. I bet I’m going to enjoy this book as much as all the other books I have read by Maureen Lee.