Hope Tantry is understandably devastated when her mother, Ally, passes away without warning. This sudden loss has left her bereft, and her grief has prevented her from sorting through her mother's belongings. However, she doesn't have the luxury of stalling when it comes to dealing with the material items that her mother left behind in a small cottage in the Lake District of England, where she spent much of her later life writing a biography of Beatrix Potter.
Fortunately, Hope doesn't have to make the trip alone. Julie and Anna Page accompany her on this heart-wrenching journey. Friends from birth, the women have always been there for one another no matter what direction life takes them in. Born to a group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters, the now-grown girls known as "The Wednesday Daughters" are the next generation.
"Despite its serious theme, THE WEDNESDAY DAUGHTERS is a heartwarming tale of a group of women who know the best and the worst about one another, yet choose to embrace each other anyway as sisters and as friends."
Unfortunately, each woman is struggling with her own demons in addition to coming to terms with the loss of Ally. Julie's heart still aches from losing her twin sister to breast cancer only a year before. Hope misses her mother and is trying to decide whether or not her marriage has run its course. Last but not least, Anna Page, the eldest of the group, connects with men on a superficial and sexual level, but never on a deeper emotional basis. As the women band together to say goodbye to Ally, they also discover some hard truths about themselves in the process.
While sorting through her mother's belongings, Hope wonders whether her mother had finally gone round the bend. Several of Ally's writer's notebooks, written in a code that the Wednesday Daughters manage to crack, are filled with memories of her time spent with Beatrix Potter. The thing is, Ally never met Potter, who died in 1943. Was Ally delusional, or was she simply expressing herself creatively in an unusual way?
Much to everyone's surprise, the journals also divulge the secrets of an age-old family mystery that connects Ally and Hope to England in a way they'd never dreamed of. Hope finds that she didn't know her mother nearly as well as she thought she did, and she mourns the loss of the opportunity to get to know her better now.
Despite its serious theme, THE WEDNESDAY DAUGHTERS is a heartwarming tale of a group of women who know the best and the worst about one another, yet choose to embrace each other anyway as sisters and as friends. The book is filled with memorable characters, both British and American, who lend a touch of flavor and believability to the story as well. It's easy for readers to imagine themselves amidst the peace and beauty of one of England's most famously attractive natural areas.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on July 19, 2013