April 23, 2023
The towering personality in this novel is Agnes Lee. She is like a tall 80-year-old tree in her beloved Sank (sanctuary) filled with eagle’s nests, the wind and sea of the Cape, and an inner wildness.
It is so joyful to be in her presence – with her sprightly mind and her close friendships. She meets in the graveyard for a walkaround with her equally elderly friend Polly, before they wander back to her house for their afternoon constitutional.
She’s a writer, but struggling to write what she thinks will be the last novel in a series. She’s also trying to persuade her friend Polly to work with her to protect the Sank for ever, after their deaths, but Polly’s family is getting in the way of that goal.
It’s a novel about the tension between a woman on her own; and her best friend, who has always put her husband first.
Agnes is also fending off a young editor called Maud who wants Agnes to reveal her true self in her memoir. Over the course of this novel, we learn about the good fortune and severe hardships that have shaped her life, and that she has kept secret up until now.
Both Agnes and Polly have experienced heartache and deep loves of many different kinds. It’s a novel about two women making do with the cards they’re given, and is an absolute delight, full of pep and a dash or two of vinegar.