20Somethingmum loves a good read, when she can get five minutes peace from the Tots! So when she does sit down with a book, its got to be good. Did Goodbye Lily meet her needs?......
I hadn't heard of Carole Patti Clarke before, but reading that she was born to Indian/Irish parents I expected a taste of the exotic.
The story is well set out, with amazingly colourful dialogue- Clarkes written imagery easily transports you back to Calcutta and the heat and differences between the expats and their servants (like the wickedly funny BoBo). It also gives an insight into the emergence of wars in the country in the later years of Dennis' teens, and the eventual hurriedness with which he and his father are forced to leave the country of his birth, and his sweetheart, behind.
As ever, grief, and loss, of either a sister, mother or indeed country, is never going to be a light read, but this book is so well written it could be taken as a biography rather than a work of fiction.
I would, however, have liked to read more about the much mentioned, but never thoroughly gone over, Rose Cottage, scene of Lorne's and Lily's youth, and Jenny's eventual reign of terror over her children. We get a short insight of Christmas years before, but only a mere taster, and I would ave preferred to read more of this than of Dennis' time at Boarding School,and very long drawn out illness whilst there, which I thought didn't really "go anywhere" apart from he got better!
We get a view from Dennis that his sister, prior to leaving Calcutta, was a playful and mischeivious beauty, so it would be interesting to the reader to learn what made her become such a monster to Lorne in the years after she came to Britain with her husband and newborn Lily.
I really do hope that there will be a further book, based on Lorne's promise in this novel that she was writing about Rose Cottage at the time of Lily's llness and eventual death. I also would love to know if she does go back to meet a man who takes her eye, or if she goes to London with Dennis.
With characters that you want to know everything about, this is a brilliant read and a welcome departure from the fluffy chic-lit woman are constantly thrown from every publisher!
Goodbye Lily is available to buy now from Amazon.