Hodder | June 18, 2013 | Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-340-89596-2
Isabel Delancey has always taken her gifted life for granted. But when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her with a mountain of debt, she and her two children are forced to abandon their home and move to a crumbling pile in the country.
With the house falling down around their ears, and the last of her savings fast disappearing, Isabel turns to her neighbours, not knowing that her mere presence there has stirred up long-standing obsessions.
As she fights to make her house a home, passions and lives collide. Isabel will discover an instinct for survival she never knew she had – and that a heart can play a new song.
Isabel Delancey and her husband, Laurent enjoyed a good life together – a rich life. They had two children, Kitty and, Thierry who attended private schools and they employed a nanny who had been with them for years. Isabel played lead violin in the symphony orchestra and, Laurent was employed working with an investment bank. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Laurent passed away and Isabel was inconsolable with grief. She just wasn’t functioning well these days trying to deal with her feelings and the fact that she’d never again see, Laurent. Conducting the smallest of tasks was overwhelming for her, even the mail had piled up left unopened on the table to the point it was all spilling onto the floor.
Isabel was upstairs playing her violin with tears cascading down her cheeks when fifteen-year-old, Kitty began calling to her to let her know a Mr. Cartwright was downstairs waiting to speak with her. He had been, Laurent’s financial advisor/accountant and had come to relay some very bad news. Basically, Laurent had died and left her and the children almost penniless. Mr. Cartwright went on to explain that, Laurent: “…had borrowed heavily against this house to maintain your lifestyle. He was relying on the value of your property continuing to increase. But the biggest problem is that when he extended the mortgage, he did not increase his life insurance to cover the new sum. In fact, he cashed in one of his policies.” He continued to notify her that the house was not paid for, she had significantly outstanding mortgage repayments that he was sure she would not be able to meet. Basically, Isabel was going to lose the house they had raised their children in. Isabel was awestruck and assured Mr. Cartwright that there must be ‘something’ she could do to rectify this most devastating debacle she was finding herself in but Mr. Cartwright was quite forward in telling her: “…Mr. Delancey had spent heavily in the months leading up to his death. He all but emptied several accounts as well as using the proceeds of the life insurance policy, any monies remaining will have to settle his credit card debts and his back payments due on the alimony to his ex-wife.” The only solution Mr. Cartwright could see for, Isabel would be to sell the house and if she didn’t she would lose it. Even if she took he kids out of private schools and let the nanny go she’d still be left with significant mortgage repayments. The ONLY option he could see for her would be to sell her precious violin which would fetch a six-figure sum, in which case she’d at least be able to keep her house.
After Mr. Cartwright left, Isabel and Kitty made tea and Kitty insisted that they must begin opening all the piled up mail but Isabel’s heart just wasn’t in it. Kitty began tearing open envelopes and reporting to her mother what each contained. She even ran across a warning that her hydro bill was so severely overdue that the company was just about to shut it off. Isabel told Kitty not to worry about it that she’d take care of it but deep down she knew she couldn’t, there was literally no money. As Kitty continued to open envelopes she came across a type-written letter of great importance and with excitement she tried to get her mother to read it but, Isabel said she was too tired and they’d continue with the rest the following day. However, Kitty was adamant that Isabel read this particular letter for it seemed someone had left her a house in their will! Neither of them was quite sure if it was a joke or not. After some checking, Isabel found it to be true, it had been left to her by her great uncle and was situated out in the country. She had remembered visiting when she was a young girl and if memory served her correctly it was a big sprawling space but had learned the place was in need of some real modernization. Isabel made the comment that her great uncle had been living in it up to the time of his death so how bad could it be? She was planning on taking this place sight unseen.
Within a few weeks they were on their way to the inheritance house. They arrived in town and stopped to ask directions and were shortly on their way again. They finally found it and Kitty was appalled when they drove up front. She thought it looked derelict but didn’t say anything out loud for fear of hurting her mother’s feelings. The house was an absolute mess – an utter eyesore!
They eventually hire, Matt McCarthy to totally renovate the house not knowing that he and his wife, Laura had been taking care of the old codger who’d lived there before he died. The only reason they looked after him, did his laundry, cooked his meals and put up with his extremely mouthy and rude comments was because they thought they would be left the house when he died, and Matt wanted this house more than anything else in life. However, when he realized he didn’t end up with the house after all, he plans to exact his revenge at the expense of poor, Isabel.
I was literally glued to this book and read it in two sittings. This is my third Moyes novel and I thoroughly enjoy her writing and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.