A single mother who once pirouetted in tightly lace ballet pumps, now raises her three daughters, sultry rebellious Margot, observant and untamed Clare and young willowy Paulina. The story follows the four Carmichael women, each one gifted with their own unique beauty. We accompany them as they travel life's path, making mistakes, creating memorable moments all while lending each other support and the unspoken understanding, hoping to mend their broken home.
Clare is however, the ugly duckling a midst a flight of beautiful swans. She notices the evident beauty in her mother and sisters, but it is in the novel that we are able to see her discover it's true meaning. With beauty comes the lovers of beauty; men. And there are many, they flit through the house, some re-appearing, other never to be seen again. Clare sees everything, and we are able to experience as she grows to understand the irrationality and surprises that accompany love. She allows us to view the lives of those around her and the effects they have on a household of four women. The way with which she views the lives of her family is insightful and intelligent and will reel in any reader with the power of tantalizing seduction. Clare's growth within the novel will uncover the memories of one's own childhood and realisation.
It is as though The Love Book were sitting on the library shelf, waiting for my grasp, so that it could lend the power held within it's enchanting tale. The seeds were sown the minute I read the first page, Catriona's way with words is magical. She paints pictures in your mind, so vivid it's as though you were experiencing life through Clare's observant eyes. It is a breath-taking novel, enticing, evocative, captivating and so beautiful that turning the last page was both an excitement and a dread, for i couldn't wait to find out what happens, yet i couldn't bear the thought of it ending.
I can't wait to read it again.
"He came to the house at the end of an overripe February afternoon. Years later, Clare would decide that the moment he chose - the stillness of sunset on a warm, candy-coloured evening - was by far the most favourable at which to arrive unexpectedly at a house of women. Perhaps he had imagined that soft fingers of light would paint his arrival in becoming gold streaks, and that the four female inhabitants would be sitting in gentle torpor, waiting for something to happen. And that's exactly how it was."
"Beauty was something Clare knew much about. Its power to make sensible people smile in a nostalgic way, or not notice that their handbrakes were released and their cars silently running down the hill, leapt at her wherever her family went. She had realised a few years previously, as somebody's well meaning grandmother fawned over Paulina and Margot at a birthday party, that she was the odd one out."
"Such secrets tended to leap out of her in front of him, things Margot would have hooted at and later poked back at her with sharp wine-coloured nails. things she would once have written in a diary, before Margot's unforgivable intrusion."
"It was a movie so clear in her mind that a part of her believed her mental creation was happening. She saw the hayloft, the dust whirling idly in the streams of sunlight falling through the roof, smelt the straw and the flower scent of her hair. She knew she was alone in the late afternoon, waiting for him, and she knew he would come. She turned to see him in the doorway, sunlight illuminating his outline in ethereal white fire. For a few seconds he was a blinding arch angel, but as he walked slowly towards her his face and eyes came into the light and he was smiling."