by Victoria Clayton
Category: Fiction / General
394 pages; ISBN: 0752826093
Rating: 6/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Rosemary Ness
Miranda Stowe seems to have everything - looks, brains, handsome husband, three lovely children and a charming 15th century moated manor house. Then she finds her husband dead - shot in the chest by accident or intent. It seems that fortune has turned against one of her darlings. But Miranda finds it impossible to continue the fiction of her perfect marriage - throughout the nineteen years Jack has been constantly unfaithful. His death forces Miranda to look anew at her life and at all the relationships that have sustained her so far.
At the top of her list of things to do Miranda puts "make money". To do this she takes in paying guests. Among them are a brilliant and dashing young Hungarian pianist and an elderly painter who is "resting his nerves". Then there is her family: Miranda`s childhood nurse and mentor, the ascerbic Rose, who now lives with her; Ivor, the gardener, a romantic poet with a troublesome penchant for lighting fires; most importantly there are her three children, who react with alarming unpredictability to their father`s death.
If it were a film, it would be billed as a light romantic comedy. Having said that, it`s a well written book, the main characters are pretty believable and sympathetically drawn. The plot has a number of twists, but you know there`s going to be happy endings all round.
This is a feel-good book, about basically nice people living basically nice lives. It`s not traumatic (although if you`re really soft like me you might shed a tear or two) or challenging. A good read for a wet afternoon.
Buy Past Mischief at amazon.co.uk