Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades, is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, a love lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.
I love time slip novels, especially set in this time so I was thrilled to be able to review While I was Waiting, then discovered I had it sat on my 'to be read' list on my Kindle all along!
I fell straight into Rachel's story, about to start renovating the wonderful sounding Clematis Cottage, and feeling a little out of sorts in her new village. Moving from the anonymous atmosphere of London into village life was daunting, but she quickly discovered the huge list of perks that made up for it. The beautiful countryside, the wildlife and the sense of community to name but a few.
While renovations were taking place an old biscuit tin was found containing old letters and a journal from the turn of the 20th century. They were the previous owner of Clematis Cottage, Mrs Hetty Trenchard-Lewis, and what a story she had to tell. From being left with her maiden aunts at the huge but crumbling Delamere House, with the cousins Richard and Edward, Hetty tells of her life in the Edwardian era, the trials of growing up without her mother, about love and loss. Her tale is a fascinating one which Rachel begins to become obsessed with, as the tale is unfinished and Rachel feels a huge pull to know what eventually became of Hetty - especially as she still feels her benevolent presence around her home.
She makes friends, some a little closer than others, and slowly realises what was lacking in her life, and how to love again.
All in all, While I Was Waiting was a really lovely and quite addictive story which I read in three long sittings! I too felt the pull to see how life had turned out for the enchanting Hetty.
I found Rachel's character infuriating at times, and willed her not to be so stand offish and rude - especially to the lovely (and seemingly easy-on-the-eye, Gabe)! But warmed to her while observing her relationship with Stan, her gardener. An elderly widower who also felt out of place in the world.
I loved 'seeing' the house come back to life and the beautiful descriptions of Rachel's illustrations and the surrounding countryside. Being set around the year 2000 there was also a very poignant storyline about the foot and mouth epidemic that ravaged the countryside which is not easy to forget and highlights the devastating downside to country living.
ABOUT GEORGIA HILL
I used to live in London, where I worked in the theatre. Then I got the bizarre job of teaching road safety to the U.S. navy – in Marble Arch!
A few years ago, I did an ‘Escape to the Country’. I now live in a tiny Herefordshire village, where I scandalise the neighbours by not keeping ‘country hours’ and being unable to make a decent pot of plum jam. Home is a converted Oast house (Old agricultural building used for drying hops), which I share with my two beloved spaniels, husband (also beloved) and a ghost called Zoe.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely, though prefer to set my novels closer to home. Perhaps more research is needed? I’ve always wanted to base a book in the Caribbean!
I am addicted to Belgian chocolate, Jane Austen and, most of all, Strictly Come Dancing.
A print copy of the book (Open Internationally)
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