When Ella married the handsome, celebrated artist Sebastian Montclair at just nineteen she was madly in love. Now, those blissful years of marriage have turned into the very definition of an unconventional set-up. Separated in every way but distance, Sebastian resides in an outhouse across the lawn from Ella's ramshackle farmhouse.
With an ex-husband living under her nose and a home crowded by hostile teenaged children and gender-confused chickens - not to mention her hyper-critical mother whose own marriage is slipping spectacularly off the rails - Ella finds comfort in the company of the very charming gardener, Ludo.
Then out of the blue Sebastian decides to move on, catching Ella horribly unawares. How much longer can she hide from what really destroyed her marriage... and the secret she continues to keep?
©2013 Catherine Alliott (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Ella married Sebastian with the plan of them both being famous artists. The plan didn't quite work out, although Sebastian made a name for himself before losing his muse. The two separated, but not quite. After the family moves to a farm two kids later, Sebastian jettisons himself to one of the outer buildings and soon becomes the husband who lived next door.
Early on in the book as Ella thinks back to when the two were madly in love, there is a brief reference to a secret which bonded the two in a special way. After that we are given a parade of characters stemming from Ella's parents, to Sebastian's aunt, to Ludo, the gardener with whom Ella is having a non sexual affair. Throughout the book Ella whines. We are constantly in her head and the action is minimal, as is the tension. And the secret? We never hear about it again until the very last pages of the book. At that point it is irrelevant because unless you are an extremely determined reader, you'll never finish the book.
The dialogue is superficial at best and Alliott doesn't get the teenage dialogue of her children right. It is unrealistic, particularly in Ella's son. Even at 17 or 18, no kid that age would talk like he does, even in a permissive home which Ella seems to cultivate.
The book itself is dull, slow paced and pointless. There are no real laughs. The character that is the most well developed and who shows real personal growth is Ella's mother. Ella, herself, is whiny and overreactive on multiple levels. The reader grows weary of her early on, but continues reading in hope that something, anything, will happen.
This is my first experience with an Alliott novel and I have no intention of buying another one. The narrator, Alison Reid, does very well, but I feel sorry for her that her talent was wasted on such a poor novel.
it took much to long to develop. it couldn't keep my attention, I kept waiting for it to get better
The dialoque is unconvincing
It would not help, the story is too weak
Dont waste time and money on this book
This was the most boring story I have listened to so far. Listened for 5 hours thinking it might improve, but it didn't. Can't listen anymore. If you like chickens you might like it.
Narrator was OK
No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Boring boring & boring
"easy listening & entertaining"
Definitley. The narrator was very good & read the story really well. I laughed & cried at parts & didnt want the story to come to an end. After a while I got lost in the story while doing my housework. I wake up a lot in the night so my Kindle is under my pillow so I just plug in my earphones & listen to the story unfolding until I fall asleep.
It was easy to listen to and funny.
There were so many scenes that I enjoyed I cant pick 1.
When the children went to stay at their fathers in Oxford & when Sebastian went to see Ella after he read her letter.
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