Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman left me unsure if I actually like the novel. Sure, I enjoyed it enough to read the whole book from start to finish, but by the end, I just wasn’t sure what to think of the book as a whole.
Story focuses mostly on two different women in two different years: Violet in 1926 and Lauren in 2014. Violet gains a waitressing job at the Grand Evergreen Hotel and Spa in Australia’s Blue Mountains where she has a passionate attraction and affair with Sam HoneyChurch-Black, one of the wealthy guests. In 2014, Lauren travels to the blue mountains to work at the currently under construction Evergreen Hotel in memory of older brother. While working and living around the hotel, she meets Danish architect Tomas. Lauren ends up discovering a set of passionate love letters from 1926 and starts digging to discover the identities of the two lovers and the mystery that starts to unfold.
I’m usually not one for historical fiction books, mostly they just aren’t my first choice of genre, but I thought Freeman captured the era of the 1920’s really well. To help capture the era, I liked that Freeman alternated between Violet and Sam’s sister Flora so that you get an idea of what it was like for one woman who does not come from a wealthy family and one who does. And even though one has money and the other doesn’t, they both have their own individual struggles. Just because Flora has money, doesn’t necessarily mean her life is easy. Yes, it was easy for her in certain ways, but she realizes that her impending marriage to an Italian-American man (whose family has business connections that her father could use), might not be what she wants or imagines would be best for her.
One of the things that I was unsure of were the characters. While I think that how Violet and Flora were written illustrated a good picture of their lives in the time, they still didn’t feel completely well rounded. Violet had to take the job at the hotel because she was fired from the other. She seemed like a stereotypical young woman in the 1920’s – carefree and independent – marrying well isn’t really at the forefront of her mind. While Flora is more responsible, not one to take risks, and senses a certain around who she marries. Flora seems like she’s supposed to be smart yet refuses to see all sides of who her fiancée is and Violet dives head first into an affair with Sam like a young naive woman, which doesn’t necessarily seem who she’s supposed to be. There actions, behaviors, and thoughts didn’t always match what they’re personalities were written like and that bugged me. Lauren on the other hand, seemed to be the opposite – she actually grew throughout the book until she makes a huge decision and leap faith at the end of the book, something she never thought she would have the courage to do.
Looking back, I would definitely say that the plot was a little slow for me. Yes, there is a mystery that occurred in the middle of the year, 1926. There is a peek into what happened at the very beginning of the book, but it’s vague enough that you don’t really know what happens until towards the end. And that was definitely a surprise for me. There weren’t really any crazy twists or turns, which I was hoping for a couple, but the solution to the mystery was really the only thing that surprised me. I also didn’t like the ending of the 1926 story simply because it made me dislike Violet – this decision that she made was one that was always there for her to make and she suddenly had a revelation. It was annoying for me, but I guess that makes her a little more realistic in a way.
Overall, I didn’t love the book, but I wouldn’t say I hated it either. I also probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Considering, I received this book in a book subscription box, this wasn’t a first pick for me.
Reading Challenge Prompts Satisfied:
PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge: Book set in a hotel