Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.
Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.
What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.
But what you find depends on what you’re searching for.
Having enjoyed Carys Bray’s short stories and her first novel, A Song for Issy Bradley, I was excited to read this, her second novel. And she very quickly had me wrapped up in the lives of Clover and her dad, Darren. Both Clover and Darren miss Clover’s mother who died when Clover was still a baby. It’s such a painful memory for Darren that Clover doesn’t know how to ask her Dad about the one person she’d love to know more about in order to understand herself better. She can’t know herself when she only knows half of her story. Meanwhile, Darren is doing the best job he can bringing up Clover as a single parent and ensuring that she is growing up a happy child. As Darren won’t tell her anything, she decides to make it a project of her summer holiday to play detective and piece together for herself what her mother was like from the belongings Darren has kept in the second bedroom. Read more