Synopsis from back cover: Rose is a frail but wilful spinster who, in a self sacrificial act following her mother’s death, became head of the family estate and self-appointed guardian of morality. Her death triggers painful memories for her younger sister Ella, memories which force her to confront the tragic consequences of a family’s guilt, relentless martyrdom and denial of romantic love.
Ella’s niece Amanda is struggling with her feminine identity, pressurised by the demands of two seemingly eligible suitors. Protective instincts prompt Ella to guide her. But Ella’s sanity is waning and, as she attempts to make good, she invites history to repeat itself.
My thoughts: Rose only ever wanted the best for her family, but this didn’t always go down well, especially not with Ella. After Rose dies, Ella is convinced that she has killed her and her imagined guilt eats away at her. She begins to realise that Rose might have been right after all, and so Ella tries to help Amanda just like Rose would have done. The only problem is that Amanda does not want her Aunt interfering in her love life.
Ella is constantly reminiscing about her past. This means that the story jumps from past to present and back again with little warning. This is a bit confusing, but helps to show that Ella is living in the past and is deeply affected by past events.
I found the story a bit slow to get into because not a lot happens near the beginning. I found Ella really annoying, and I wished that the story would concentrate more on Amanda because I quite liked her.