Julia Blake has crafted a story, not only rich in details, but equally rich in the characters you wish were your friends. The story begins as a coming of age story of a lonely young girl neglected by her self-obsessed parents, and who suffered unimaginable bullying at school. The one constant good thing in the girl’s life was her grandmother who gave her the love she so desperately needed. When her grandmother dies, she bequeaths her considerable fortune and her beautiful old home to her granddaughter. This is the catalyst that jump starts the girl on her road to transformation.
However, it would take more than money for this lonely girl to begin to believe in herself. It was a vision, a moment out of time, that Phyllis glimpsed what her future self could be. From that moment on, she steadfastly went about changing herself into the vision she’d glimpsed. And that future girl’s name was Lili. Lili was elegant, self-assured and surrounded by dear friends.
Her own lonely, beleaguered past filled the new Lili with insight into others’ desires and loneliness. Like a magnet, Lili drew these disparate people to her. Their problems, loves and trials became hers. And they became devoted to her. They became the family she never had.
One night, at an engagement party for a friend, Lili meets a man who she instantly feels is the love of her life. She is crushed to find him already married. Lili has never had a boyfriend, never been in love, yet she loves this man with a woman’s heart. She tried to forget him, though time and circumstance brought them together again and again. Their mutual attraction binds them, yet Lili refuses to be the catalyst that destroys a marriage, even a marriage that is hollow and full of lies.
This is a remarkable story of love and sacrifice; a story of friends who become a family; a story of love lost and found again. This is the kind of story that resonates long after the last word is read. I totally fell in love with this wonderful novel. It’s the kind of novel you will read again and again.