Sunday, November 16, 2008

Second Time Around-Marcia Willett

Second Time Around
Marcia Willett
Dunne, Dec 9 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 0312306660

Due to the splintering her family years ago, never married eighty-four years old Mathilda Rainbird has no obvious heir to bequest her large South Devon estate to once she dies, which the octogenarian knows is soon. As such with the help of barrister James Barrington she leaves her property including her seaside cottage to three nth degree cousins she never met and she believes never met each other.

After Mathilda passes away, the beneficiaries are stunned as none knew the late octogenarian nor expected the gift she bestowed on them. Twenty-two years old dog sitter Tessa Rainbird has felt alone ever since her parents and baby brother died; retired diplomat widower Will Rainbird has gotten used to being alone ever since his wife past away; and spinster retired school matron Beatrice Holmes has always been alone even when surrounded by her all male students and faculty. These three lonely-hearts move into the cottage as each seeks new beginnings. Also on the property is Mathilda’s former housekeeper Isobel Stangate who resides in a smaller adjacent cottage while separated from her husband. None of the four want to share anything as each prefers hiding in shallow loneliness out of fear of being hurt; but soon family bonds begin to form as the quartet develop differing but caring relationships with one another.

This is the first American publication of a late 1990s English relationship drama starring five strong characters (including the late Mathilda). Readers will feel they moved into the cottage due to Marcia Willet’s trademark ability to bring her cast alive (see THE COURTYARD that contains a similar ensemble warmth story line). Fans will root for everyone to make it especially as a warm loving family who are there for each other.

Harriet Klausner

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