The final instalment in the Rivenshaw series set at the end of WWII in Lancashire.
Germany 1939, and Christa Sommer boards the Kindertransport, unsure that she'll ever see her beloved mother and father again.
Once in England she is taken in by elderly Mrs Pelling, who grows to love Christa as the daughter she never had. But in 1945 Mrs Pelling dies. While her will cannot be found, her money-grabbing niece appears out of the blue to claim her inheritance and turfs Christa out, with only a suitcase to her name.
The prejudice against Germans still runs high in England, and Christa is unable to secure a job or a place to stay. Luck comes her way when a lady she saves from being mugged turns out to be Mayne Esher's friend Daniel's mother.
Taking pity on Christa, they take her to Rivenshaw, where they plan to start a new life as part of the Esher building firm. There, Christa is welcomed with open arms, and she soon develops a love for the place, the people and Daniel. But Esherwood is not the trouble-free sanctuary she first thinks.
Determined to do their bit for soldiers returning from the war, they have agreed to allow the council to build prefabs on some of Esherwood's garden.
But an empire-building town planner seems set on taking all of Mayne's land for the war effort. Mayne has also discovered a secret door at the back of the old Nissen hut, with a complicated locking mechanism that has local locksmiths dumbfounded. Just what is hidden behind the door to warrant such high security?
Ce que les auditeurs disent de Gifts for Our Time
- L. Stapleton
Disorganized, messy conclusion (spoilers)
My expectations for Anna Jacobs novels aren't terribly high. She writes formulaic, escapist books and that's what I read (or listen to) them for.
This final novel in the Rivenshaw series, however, is such a mess that I had to review it. The first three volumes move along predictably and are satisfying. Unfortunately, in the final book Jacobs does nothing to resolve the subplot lines she opens in the first three. The building company never builds anything. The people that Maynard Isher promises jobs to never get them. Isher gets to keep his house, which is nice, but does the building company go ahead with building houses in the rest of the land? Is the company successful? The planning commission trying to steal his land plot could easily have been a building company scam plot or something similar that would have allowed the entire storyline to be concluded.
Rather than introducing a new bad-guy character and plot, Jacobs should have dedicated this final novel in the series to establishing the building company and therefore, the futures of all the characters in the stories.