Rapid Reviews

The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

This is a story about sisterly bonds, complex relationships and personal growth as each of the Garnett sisters navigates their way around marriage, sexuality and the somewhat tempestuous relationship with their sometimes domineering and overbearing mother, Margo. Yes, she means well, but sometimes I felt as though she was a caricature because she could be so over-the-top.

I understood where Margo was coming from, but occasionally she overstepped decent boundaries as she pressed her own life expectations onto her children.

The stunning scenery of the Isle of Wight coast was almost a character of its own and made me long for the brief visits we made as children – when my great aunt lived on the island, close to the lighthouse.

While Georgina Moore’s storytelling beautifully captures the essence of familial relationships, the pacing of the story occasionally felt a little uneven. There were times I had to go back a few pages to get my bearings when the narrator changed and it felt as though the direction had altered. 

Richard’s story, which we get initially in tiny snippets through the eyes of oldest daughter Rachel, and rarely through Margo’s memories, is the tale of a selfish man who seemingly abandons the parts of his life which don’t work for him. I am not sure if the reveal about him was meant to make me feel uncomfortable and sad, or if I was meant to feel happy for the children (and his ex-wife) who were granted some element of closure.

The story was well-written with some very strong female characters. Though there were moments when I felt frustration at Margo for interfering so much (poor, confused Imogen) or annoyed with Rachel for seemingly being unable to voice concerns about her marriage, I think that these emotions are ones the book was trying to express to the reader.

A captivating exploration of relationships, resilience and growth. Based in London and the Isle of Wight, with both places evoking different emotions in every character.

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