21 June 2022

Review: THE WAY FROM HERE, Jane Cockram

  • this edition made available as an e-book on Libby by my local library
  • ISBN: 9780062939326
  • ISBN 10: 0062939327
  • Imprint: Harper Collins
  • On Sale: March 1, 2022
  • Pages: 320 pages 

Synopsis (publisher)

Three generations of women. Three generations worth of secrets. Will a cache of letters from beyond the grave hold the key to unravelling them all? The answer to that question lies at the heart of this addictive and atmospheric novel from the author of THE HOUSE OF BRIDES

Growing up, the Anderson sisters could not have been more different. Susie, the wild one, had an adventurous life while Camilla —Mills— followed a safer path. When Susie suddenly dies, Mills falls apart. Until she receives a bundle of mysterious letters from her estranged sister to be read in the case of her death. Each letter instructs her to visit a place special to Susie, both to spread her ashes but also to uncover some truths Susie has long kept hidden from her family.

Their mother Margaret has secrets of her own. When living in Swinging Sixties London, she too made a decision about her life that not only haunts her, but will reverberate through the generations.

One family, three very different women. What choices and secrets connect them? In this novel of truth and lies, concealment and regret, Jane Cockram flips the looking glass to expose our true face, revealing the deep lines of deception that can run through families and how the people we love the most often have the most to hide.

My Take

This novel is a mystery rather than crime fiction. 

The story is told by 3 main characters but also in several time frames - Susie, Camilla and their mother Margaret over a period of 30 years. The story begins with letters that Susie has left for her sister Camilla, in the form of a request that Camilla will go overseas, deliver the letters, and scatter Susie's ashes in various places.

Susie originally went overseas twenty years earlier, in 1998, on a gap year after she had finished school. Her grandmother Nellie had given her various places to visit. She herself had come to Australia as "ten-pound" Pom nearly 40 years earlier. When Susie returned to Australia she had changed, but she seemed unable to talk about what had happened to her. Susie died falling off a ladder just before her 40th birthday, so the year is 2018.

The novel tells us the history of the 3 generations of women and the secrets they have kept between them for almost 60 years.

The weaving of the story is very cleverly done, with several interlinked and twisted strands of mystery. Highly recommended and memorable.

My rating: 4.6

About the author

Jane Cockram was born and educated in Australia, where she studied Journalism at RMIT, majoring in Literature. After earning a post-graduate diploma in Publishing and Communication at Melbourne University, she worked in sales for Pan Macmillan Publishers and then as fiction buyer at Borders, fulfilling a childhood dream of reading for a living. Cockram spent a year living in the West Country of England, where The House of Brides is set, and still daydreams about returning.  In the meantime, she resides in Melbourne with her husband and two children. The House of Brides is her debut novel.  

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