3 out of 5 stars

Gwendolen watches her husband open a letter and frown slightly at it. When he breaks the news to her she finds out that he has received an unexpected inheritance. He offers to pay for them both to head back to her home of Dominica that she left as a small girl. Her brief childhood there still inhabits her memories, but it was a place of beauty and freedom. It is a place far removed from the grey days and lonely nights of living in England.

This trip home causes her to look back on her life spent far away from home, the steep learning curve of being in an English school, how her background closed so many doors and the moments spent with those looking to take advantage of her. Her visit to the home she left stirs memories that have long been suppressed and makes her consider where her future may lead.

This is a fictionalised account of Gwen Williams, who is better known as Jean Rhys, author of Wide Sargasso Sea. I have not read that book yet so knew nothing of her story. There were parts of Phillips’ story that I liked, in particular, the time she spent in Dominica as a child and when she returned at the end of the book. However, there were parts in the middle that really struggled to catch my interest. Not bad overall, but didn’t feel it excelled, I would give another of his books a go at some point.

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