Family Album by Penelope Lively
By SMW Staff
All Alison ever wanted for her six children was a blissful childhood. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she transformed a shabby Edwardian mansion into a veritable shrine of togetherness, complete with special-occasion dinners on exquisite Limoges china and elegant birthday parties on the estate’s sprawling lawns. For explosive Paul, precocious Gina, pretty Sandra, adventurous Katie, clever Roger, and flighty Clare, their home seemed the perfect place to grow up. But was it?
Alison has perfected the persona of devoted wife and doting mother; Ingrid has been her willing accomplice in shielding everyone from unsightly truths. Beneath the postcard sheen, however, this picture is clouded by a distant father, inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention. For years, Alison’s adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection, but as they return one by one to their former home, they confront the effects of past choices on their current adult lives. Once family mysteries begin to unravel, each must grapple with new and difficult truths.
About the author:
Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively’s academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics. Penelope Lively now has six grandchildren and lives in London.
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