A true masterpiece The Green Ribbons cover91680-medium by Clare Flynn and published by Cameron Publicity & Marketing Ltd.
I have just finished to read it and I couldn't put down my smart phone while I was reading it. I loved it from the beginning to the end because powerful for the problematics involved in this book, extremely serious.
Love, passion, betrayal, discomfort, death, desperation, choices, desolation, violence, abuses, poverty, jealousy, this book will let you breath what life is and how a family can be in grade to keep buried important secrets.
Not only: how our choices, when not appropriate can change dramatically the destiny of all our dear ones and how a child can make the difference in a family in particular if born outside the marriage.
Another big thematic the opportunistic one. How much can a person use another one for his/her own interest and how much convenient is to do that after all?
Echoes of writers like Margaret Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte with her Jane Eyre sometimes popped up in my mind while I was reading this book. It's not just a love-story: The Green Ribbons is the mirror of a period, the mirror of a certain time, 1900 with all the customs, traditions, and decencies of that specific historical moment.
Remembered important historic facts like the death of Queen Victoria, the conditions of poorest people of the town, sometimes starved by a bad policy, a lot of men without work, the description of the local workhouse. The author will speak of the human traps at that time banned but still in use sometimes with all the consequences of the case, social life at the beginning of 1900. Indifference and/or big participation for trying to better this world and the main question without answer: why the world is this one?
The author's writing-style stunningly beauty and precious, it reminds at the best literature of the past, and all the characters she created, I can assure you, will remain forever in your heart for the frank, honest, real dialogues, - impressive - and description of the various characters. Wonderfully portrayed, Clare Flynn is able to look deeply in the soul of everyone giving to the various protagonists of the book an original voice and a great, impressive intensity.
The story starts in 1900 with Hephzibah, who is burying both her parents because of a horrible tragedy: a tram invested them both.
The name of the protagonist can appears strange. It's a Biblical name. It is the name given at the promised land. Hephzibah is also the name of the wife of king Hekeziah.
Her stepfather, with which she was in good relationship with, unfortunately hadn't planned at all to ending his life so abruptly and still young followed by his wife and so Hephzibah didn't receive anything.
Without relatives where to go and what to go?
Where to re-start an existence?
She receives a letter from an ex student of his dad, Reverend Merritt Nightingale from Nettlestock. A bit more old than her, but not that much she discovers that a family is searching for a governess if she wants that workplace. A little kid needs a new one.
Sometimes life changes abruptly plans and the girl accepts the work suggested by the reverend.
What she doesn't imagine is that this young man fell in love for her since the first time he met her while he was studying. He secretively hopes to marry her.
The arrival at Ingleton Hall good and bad at the same time for the girl. Little kid Ottilie is good and she appreciates Hephzibah, but the owner of Ingleton Hall Sir Richard can't keep his hands too distant from the girl as also happened and happens with other servants and staff of the mansion.
Refusing his sad and dirty abuses, that man repelled the girl, Thomas, Richard Egdon's son starts to be for the young girl reasons for dreaming. Dreaming a cleaned relationship, dreaming for a boy she is feeling a great attraction for.
After the latest violence against her perpetrated by Richard on her, Hephzibah escapes, motivated to leaving forever the workplace of governess.
Desperate, while she is walking to the village for speaking with Merritt the reverend, Thomas Egdon is returning home.
He understands what his dad, a man he hates, wanted to do to the girl and he suggests her of marrying him.
To the girl a real dream because she fell in love immediately for this boy although Thomas doesn't feel the same sentiments and is more interested in racehorses, gambling, and spending time to London with his friends.
Marriage life is not for him and he commit the error of wanting to marry Hephzibah and Hephzibah, without to have a lot of experience, to accept just because she feels attraction for this boy.
They rush to Scotland where they return wife and husband, groom and bride.
Merritt Nightingale when understands this news is devastated because truly in love for Hephzibah. He knows Thomas and he knows that he won't never be able to present her any kind of happiness.
Hephzibah and Merritt a lot in common: passion for books, trips, Merritt planned to go to Rome once, also the favorite city of Hephzibah. Now, all these plans created in his mind destroyed by a sad, devastating reality. Hephzibah can't be anymore his wife. His heart devoted to her, uninterested to find any other girl.
Thomas "was in love", like also his dad and many other men with Abigail Cake, a promiscuous girl of the village, violated also by her same members of her family with terrible consequences. A horrible story of abuses.
A child doesn't arrive because Thomas can't have them and Richard, his dad one day talking to Hephzibah, thinks maybe he will change his will in case. Scared by this perspective, Hephzibah will ask to Merritt for a special help...
The two, without to want it, will fall in love. It's a desperate love this one. Why? Merritt loved Hephzibah from the beginning but to Hephzibah this feelings completely new.
Hephzibah is substantially happy at first of her marriage with Thomas, she thinks that sex must be that one, that, after all, although her husband not always at home, she must continue to live her existence close to Thomas. She is in love with Thomas, but Merritt...
She didn't know that love was another story.
Hephzibah after all has had a son.
Tired of the continuous irresponsible behavior and debts of his son, Richard thinks again to send his son to hell keeping in the mansion only Hephzibah and the little toddler He can't risk that his money would go one day at his son. That man is not in grade to take care of their big house and interests and Richard, who created a fortune doesn't want to see it dispersed if not in proper hands.
Secrets in Egdon family numerous. I can't tell you all and I will stop here because these ones are the final crucial chapters and they will bring with them a lot of turmoil.
Just: remember that at the end of this book you will discover redemption, changes, renewal.
Oh: why this title The green ribbons you can ask? One of the few things Hephzibah kept of her mother...
I strongly suggest you this book. It's incredible! for intensity of feelings, dialogues, situations, scenarios. You will love it!
Thank you NetGalley.com!
Anna Maria Polidori