Title: In the Company of Strangers
Author Liz Byrski
Genre: Women’s Fiction
The Blurb: Ruby and Cat’s friendship was forged on an English dockside over sixty years ago when, both fearful, they boarded a ship bound for Australia. It was a friendship that was supposed to last a lifetime but when news of Cat’s death reaches Ruby back in London, it comes after a painful estrangement. Declan has also drifted away from Cat, but he is forced back to his aunt’s lavender farm, Benson’s Reach, when he learns that he and Ruby are co-beneficiaries. As these two very different people come together in MargaretRiver they must learn to trust each other and to deal with the staff and guests. Can the legacy of Benson’s Reach triumph over the hurt of the past? Or is Cat’s duty-laden legacy simply too much for Ruby and Declan to keep alive?
My Thoughts: I loved the sense of community that author Liz Byrski created at Benson’s Reach; what a perfect work environment it would be to work in. I have spent time in MargaretRiver in Western Australia and felt comfortable in the setting. IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS is a complex story where the plot is interwoven with back stories of family relationships, friendship, love, betrayal and loss. Itfollows a few differentcharacters who have all come from various backgrounds and age groups and are mostly strangers to each other when the story opens. Of the characters I was least drawn to Lesley who I felt needed a good shaking and very upset at Paula’s storyline, why did the author not see any salvageable qualities in her life. Still in real life people don’t always get on, and often we don’t try and understand the reasons behind the behaviour of people we come across, so an unlikable character is not out of the question. One aspect I really this Byrski did well was how the shameful story of the UK Child Migrant Scheme is interwoven into the story. Never in your face, or even the main focus, yet has it subtly affected the story from start to finish.
Rating: B – A really, really good read
More about the Author – Click Here