Meanwhile, back in the present, Rosemary’s grandfather has died and the family farm is to be sold off and the old house, Magpie Hall, restored as a B & B. Rosemary is appalled at her family’s intention to destroy the source of her family memories. It happens that Rosemary’s own life is a bit of a mess with her thesis incomplete and her most recent relationship consigned to the waste bin.
This book is Rosemary’s attempt to uncover what may have been the story of Henry’s New Zealand life at Magpie Hall while she also comes to term with what happened to her and her siblings during a teenage holiday stay with her grandparents. This mix of historical and contemporary events works well and a more complete picture of the Summers family unfolds as the novel progresses.
Rachael is the daughter of the eminent historian Michael King. The Sound of Butterflies, her first book, was set in South America and England. In this new book Rachael is telling a truly New Zealand story, a story of settlers who have made their own history. Although fictitious, this particular history is very enjoyable and well crafted.