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The Wednesday Daughters    by Meg Waite Clayton order for
Wednesday Daughters
by Meg Waite Clayton
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Meg Waite Clayton wrote The Language of Light, The Four Ms. Bradwells, and The Wednesday Sisters. Though I read the first two (which were excellent) I somehow missed the latter. But that in no way diminished my enjoyment of this sequel, The Wednesday Daughters.

Hope Tantry is trying to come to terms with the death of her mother Ally and also to deal with her mother's personal effects in a small cottage in the Lake District. Ally had used it as a retreat where she worked on an unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter. Indeed, chapters open with Beatrix Potter quotations as well as entries From the Journals of Ally Tantry, filled with rich, imagined conversations between Ally and Beatrix.

Because their mothers were close friends, the Wednesday Daughters, who have little in common except a shared childhood, have also developed a strong friendship. Hope is Ally's daughter, Anna Page is Kath's and Julie (still grieving over the death of her twin sister Jamie from breast cancer) is Linda's. Anna Page and Julie accompany Hope to the Lake District.

First they encounter a colorful boatman, Robbie (a poet who has his own agenda in the district), and then Graham (an artist) drops in from the big house, unaware of Ally's death. Gradually, as they open puzzle boxes and decipher a code, they learn more of Ally's life and family history than they knew before. And when Anna Page's mother Kath shows up, all sorts of secrets are unraveled and personal issues are resolved.

The Wednesday Daughters is a lyrical exploration of love and loss, understanding and misunderstanding between generations. It's enriched by hints of romance and by the scenic backdrop of the Lake District, as well as Beatrix Potter's life and work. Highly recommended!

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