Lily's House is an enchanting, quirky and often surprising tale of unconditional love between a grandmother and granddaughter. By the time the book begins, Lily has passed away, leaving her house to her granddaughter Jen, despite their rocky past, but she is still the most endearing and striking character in the book, as well as the guiding light for her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. She is a determined and and kind-hearted woman, intent on influencing the destinies of those she loves, even from beyond the grave.
As a little girl, Jen adored her grandmother and always secretly harboured a notion that she was a witch : she certainly dabbled in the healing powers of plants and seemed to have second sight, or at least an uncanny ability to know what was going on even when she was miles away. This gift seems to have been passed down to Jen too, but she muses that maybe it is just the natural consequence of a mother's (and grandmother's) fierce love and need to protect.
Jen travels down to Cornwall with her tween-aged daughter with the desire to sort out her estranged grandmother's estate as quickly as possible then sell up and go back to her struggling musician husband Daniel with the much needed money in the bank. The pair clearly have an intense, fusional relationship but Daniel soon comes across as overly needy and possibly even controlling. There was no love lost between Jen's husband and grandmother so his desire for her to wrap things up quickly and profit from the cash seems almost justified, but there is always something that doesn't sit quite right.
However, as the story advances, and the author tosses nuggets of information into the narrative that change your whole perception of a character, the reader is constantly wrong-footed. One example is when we learn, quite a few chapters in, that Jen is deaf. Suddenly, her husband's over-protectiveness seems more coherent and reasonable. I felt slightly duped by the author at times, when she revealed an important piece of information that would have changed our outlook from the offset, but in the later chapters, it actually made more sense and gave the unfolding plot more impact.
The surprising and rather chilling climax leaves you wondering if it was morally the right outcome, but in no doubt whatsoever that it was all done with the best of intentions. I'd certainly rather have Lily, and even Jen, fighting in my corner than against me !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £8.99
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.