ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore

The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore will be published on 16th February by HQ in hardcover, eBook and audiobook.

My thanks to Sian Baldwin and the author for the proof package.

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

The Garnett Girls: Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, and their glamorous social butterfly mother, Margo. There’s something rather timeless and classic about them all. Margo holds court over all who come into contact with her at Sandcove, the family home on the Isle of Wight. To an extent, her daughters live a little in her shadow but each tries to forge their own lives with Rachel apparently the most together of them all, Imogen drifting a little, and Sasha trapped in her marriage. And looming over them all is their father, Richard, missing from all of their lives for so long, and the spectre of the great all-encompassing love that he and Margo shared (I imagined a sort of Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton scenario).

It’s clear the author has a great love for the island. She writes about it so evocatively and brings it to life between the pages. Not all of the action takes place there but it’s the hub of the family and they’re always drawn back there, along with others collected along the way, and despite the ups and downs that they experience there’s such a bond between them all which oozes warmth and clannish intimacy.

Fractures do start to formulate during the course of the story, not least because of a secret that Margo has kept from the girls, and for a while they’re all at odds with each other. This is a novel about the delicacies and intricacies of family life, and forgiveness. I couldn’t help but like Margo with her magnetic allure, especially to men. I liked the ‘girls’ too, particularly reliable and strong Rachel, and I really enjoyed the sections with languid friend of the family, Jonny, as well.

Georgina Moore’s debut is assured and well-written, with a gorgeous setting and interesting characters, and it put me in mind of the TV series The Split in terms of characterisations and family dynamics. The invisible thread that ties families together whilst sometimes also tearing them apart is portrayed perfectly. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Now Deputy MD of Arts PR Agency Midas, Georgina Moore is an award-winning book publicist, who has worked in the publishing industry for twenty years, most recently at Headline. The Garnett Girls is Georgina’s first novel and is set on the Isle of Wight, where Georgina and her family have a holiday houseboat called Sturdy. Georgina’s main residence is a houseboat in the River Thames, where she lives with her partner, two children and Bomber, the Border Terrier. You can find her as @PublicityBooks on Twitter and @georginamooreauthor on Instagram.

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