Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester

Reviewed by Sarah Tegerdine (Peregian Beach)

Described as ‘a sweeping story of love, ambition and courage in the face of society’s disapproval’…… It cannot be denied, no truer statement could be made.

I would, however, add that it is also colourful, vibrant and filled with loss and turmoil.

The protagonist of our tale is Leonora East (Leo) and is set at the end of WW1 in a small English village. Leo works in her father’s chemist and has big dreams of making cosmetics. Times when the likes of lipstick was looked upon as immoral, cosmetics sent secretly vial mail order. Circumstances unfold where she finds herself leaving England for the shores of New York City. On her way, she meets Mr. Everett Forsyth.

Intrigued? I was, right from the outset!!!

This book packs in a lot for 385 pages, some may argue to the detriment of some character/story depth…but that again is neither here or there. The afterglow, though bittersweet is still really sweet and it leaves me wanting to hug most of the characters, even the nasty ones and I may add, they are downright catty!

It did read like a bit of a fairytale at times but it didn’t detract from the storyline and on the occasion, early on, the viewpoint to which it was being narrated from/spoken got a little confusing. But that may have just been a mood thing on my part!

This is the perfect weekend read and if you are anything like me, I deliberately dragged it out a little bit! So if you want to get your teeth into a well-condensed saga set in the mid-1900s, you have reached your destination.

Shamini Murugan