The Birds The Bees and Other Secrets by Frances Garrood
The novel begins with Cass visiting her mother in hospital and then looks back over the journey of Cassandra, then age thirteen, through her life in the sixties with her unconventional mother, who enjoys inviting many strange characters (including “Call me Bill”) to live in her home as she is very much a people person and loves to be surrounded by them. An unfortunate event at home encourages Cassandra’s mum to choose to send her to boarding school, which is the last place Cass wants to be. We follow their relationship into Cassandra’s adulthood when Cassandra chooses to become a nurse and follow the very sad and the funny happenings along the way.
This was a beautifully written book and I delighted at the relationship between mother and daughter and in places the novel was extremely amusing, but in others it was so very sad. I found the first half of the book very absorbing and didn’t want to leave it. I enjoyed the second half of the book too, although felt it was a little stretched out in places, but certainly not enough to deter. I was sad to leave the characters at the end of the book, including all the dogs. All in all I loved the book and would recommend it to those that love an emotional story surrounding relationships and some of the difficulties experienced by differing personalities, especially between mothers and daughters.
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