Facing The Light by Adele Geras
An extended family gathers in late August to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of its formidable matriarch, Leonora. She is the daughter of the famous Edwardian painter Ethan Walsh, whose paintings are kept at the family home, Willow Court in Wiltshire. At Leonora's house party will be her daughters, Gwen and Rilla, whom she raised alone after she was widowed in her late twenties; Rilla's stepdaughter Beth; and Gwen's husband and three children with their spouses and lovers. One outsider joins the group: Sean Everard, a television director who's making a documentary about the life and work of Ethan Walsh. All families have their dark side and Leonora's is no exception. By the time the marquee is dismantled and all the guests have gone their separate ways, two shocking past events have come to light, to rock complacency and change for ever the lives of Leonora and her daughters.