Book Review: The Willow Pool by Elizabeth Elgin

Liverpool, 1941.  Meg Blundell is mourning the loss of her mother to TB.  In the wake of her mother’s death comes answers that Meg has been waiting for all her life.

Meg never knew her father.  She didn’t even know his name.  When pressed, Meg’s mother would not utter a word.  However, on the topic of Candlefold, she would talk ceaselessly for hours.  Candlefold was the house in the country where she had worked as a young woman, and it had been spoken of as if it might be heaven.

Tidying up her mother’s things, she comes across a number of important papers: the deeds to the house she lived in Tippets Yard, which now belonged to Meg; a number of photographs of her mother in service at Candlefold before Meg was born, and finally her own birth certificate, with an interesting entry.  Although ‘Father Unknown’ was no surprise, the fact that she was born at the country house her mother had always spoken so fondly of did.

If she wants answers, the only place she can go for them is Candlefold.  Even though her neighbour, Nell, tells her to leave the past be, Meg needs to understand.   But what she finds at Candlefold is more than she could have ever anticipated…

The Willow Pool tells the tale of a young girl, all alone in the world, as she learns about where she came from, who she is and what she could be.

This was an unexpected gemstone of a read.  I can’t even remember what had prompted me to pick it up at the book sale, but I am so glad that I did.  I don’t think that I have ever read a book that brought to life so vividly what was going on at home during WWII.

The story was full of interesting, unforgettable characters, each with their own wonderfully detailed, distinct personality.  Plain-speaking Nell Shaw, quiet Tommy Todd, the persistent, upright Kip Lewis…But perhaps it is the character of Meg herself that truly makes this story so captivating.  A simple girl, who has never been in love…

The journey of discovery that the author takes us on is a tumultuous one, one that breaks the heart and completely captures the imagination.  I could not put this book down once I got into the story, as I needed to know just how things were going to end for Meg.

I loved this book, so much more than I thought possible.  And so, I will definitely be seeking out other offerings from this wonderful author.  Highly Recommended!


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