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Monday, 14 March 2022
THE UNVEILING OF POLLY FORREST by Charlotte Whitney #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog
In a Nutshell: Family drama/mystery set in rural Michigan during the 1930s Depression
A book about America's Great Depression always piques my interest; this suspense-filled story of sisters Sarah and Polly, living in farming country in Michigan in 1934, certainly conjured up the atmosphere. Elder sister and vicar's wife Sarah is dutiful, industrious, a tad self-righteous and bitterly jealous of Polly; Polly is stunningly pretty, stylish (with a penchant for glamorous hats), and newly married to the mysterious Sam.
It's clear that the author has a passion for this period of history and really understands the hardship people lived through, with no knowledge of how or when it would end, and I so appreciated all the detail of the every day lives. As for the characters, I found that at first I sympathised with Sarah and wasn't so keen on Polly, but as more insight was given, I soon felt the other way round, and felt the claustrophobia of Polly's life, while disliking Sarah's attitude. I very much liked how the truth about Sam and Polly emerged so gradually; a slow 'unveiling' indeed.
The book is told from the POVs of Sarah, Polly and Sarah's husband Wes; I did feel that Sarah and Wes's 'voices' were too alike, and I'd sometimes have to flick back to remind myself whose chapter I was reading.
I didn't realise straight away that I'd read another book by this author for the review team, a while back; I refreshed my memory about it, and think this is a much more interesting novel, with a more complex and intriguing plot, though one storyline seemed superfluous - a forbidden desire that I thought was going to go somewhere exciting but just petered out, as if the author had got bored with it. Aside from the start being a little exposition heavy, to set the scene and give background information, I enjoyed the unfolding of the story and was completely taken by surprise when the 'reveal' came - that's always a real bonus!