This novel takes us into the world of Clarissa Granville, a young woman approaching her seventeenth birthday, living a happy and privileged existence with her family at their wonderful country house, Deyning Park. The house itself, and the landscape around Deyning are vividly described, the lush gardens, the expansive grounds, the lake. We meet Clarissa at the start of the summer of 1914, enjoying lovely summer days with her three brothers and the rest of her family and friends. She is introduced to handsome, clever Tom Cuthbert, who is the son of the housekeeper at Deyning. He is recently returned from University, and is back staying with his mother. Tom is invited to a party at the main house and there Clarissa meets and is spellbound by him, and he by her. Their time together during that summer ignites a love and burning need for each other that will be with them forever. Then the world begins to change, and the impending war will alter all their lives permanently.
Tom is so handsome, I could picture him. 'He shone. For there was a light that emanated from him, his soul, his substance.' This idea of him as a brilliant light that disarms Clarissa, a potency strong enough to overwhelm her. 'For there was something about him - his face - that dazzled me, quite literally dazzled me: as though he were a light much too bright to gaze upon directly. And in that light I was naked; every sensation amplified; each thought audible. I think I fell quite in love with him too myself whilst reading!
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Reviewed for amazon vine and for the publisher, thanks to them for sending a copy of this novel.