The house is telling her to go: her allotted time is up, it’s someone else’s turn.
Moving, by Jenny Éclair, starts as Edwina decides that her house of fifty years is too big for her and calls an estate agent to come value it. As they walk through each room of the house, the memories come flooding back to her. Flashbacks from her past are laid out before us, and the secrets start pouring out. Happy, scandalous and downright tragic secrets.
The book is laid out in three mains sections, Edwina, Fern and Lucas. As you read on, you begin to see how their lives intertwine, how there are two, three, four sides to every story, and not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Éclair does a fantastic job of creating very believable characters who you ache to get to know, even if they are a little unsavoury. This is an amazing human interest story of family secrets and betrayal – it will have you steamroll through the book to find out what happens next. It does have a melancholy feel to it, showing just how fragile people can be, giving in to vices and spiralling into old habits that lead to wasted lives.
Edwina’s chapters were my favourites, telling the story of a single mother struggling to keep herself and her family afloat after her first love, Ollie, passes away. Edwina is strong, eccentric and vibrant, and even at the tender age of seventy-something, you can really see her personality shine through. I loved her little family, the twins, housekeeper Alicia (whose friendship with Edwina really moved me), and later Dickie and Lucas. I feel like you’re not supposed to like the two latter characters, Dickie does come across as very pompous, but you can tell that he means well and has a heart of gold. Lucas, well, we’ll get to him later.
Fern’s chapters were my least favourite. Not to say they were bad, or I didn’t like her, I just didn’t warm to them as much. It may also have to do with the fact that I went into the book not really knowing anything about it, so felt almost resentful that Edwina’s story, that I had grown so attached to, seemly wasn’t carrying on! It took a while for Fern’s story to get going, and I didn’t understand where she came into play in Edwina’s world until a bit later. Even then, I found her a bit spoilt, annoying and just generally uninteresting. My only real criticism is that Fern’s story is a bit too far removed from the main focus in the novel, as she’s only a part of one major plot point in the book (even then, barely involved).
And finally, Lucas. Though he comes off as unlikeable, he is arguably the most interesting character. He comes across as a spoilt brat who hates his stepmum, and to be honest, who can blame him? After all, from his perspective, Edwina was the woman who stole his father away from the most perfect woman in the world, his mother. I was a bit confused when we got to Lucas’ third of the novel, as though he had a closer link to Edwina than Fern did, I didn’t think he would have much involvement in her life after he left home for university. But it was so great seeing the story spin on its head and provide a fresh new perspective. I felt very empathetic towards Lucas, even if some of his hate derives from childhood grudges, which leads to some questionable actions.
Without giving anything away, the ending really touched me. It made me believe that even though these characters aren’t all sweetness and light, and they have all done terrible things, there is such a thing as second chances. Moving (ha, get it?) and completely absorbing, this book is really impressive and truly draws you in. The high drama is portrayed really well, and you can tell it’s not just done for shock factor, this is just the way life is sometimes.
I was sad at the end of this book, not only because of the subject matter, but because I knew I had to let these characters, who I loved so dearly, go. If you do read Moving, know that the story will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.