Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Love Child by Sheila Kohler

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

A nice little book about young love, secrets and mistakes.

The story is about a woman named Bill. Taking place in South Africa, the story goes back and forth between the 'present day' - which is the mid 1950s - and the 1920s and 30s. Present day Bill is a widow with her two sons away at boarding school. She is faced with her own immortality, when she has to consider who to leave her money and possessions to in the case of her own death.

We also see her past. In the mid-1920s as a 17 year old, she falls in love and elopes, only to have the marriage annulled by her family and finding herself pregnant, which she is made to keep secret. Never finding out what happened to the child after giving birth, Bill continues her life and ten years lady she becomes a companion to a older lady. Events soon lead to Bill eventually marring and having her two boys.

We see Bill coming to terms with who to leave her money to, and we see all the important people in her life, from her siblings to her sons to her servants and others. We get to know Bill as she goes over the decision in her mind, constantly changing her mind and being pressured into a decision by outside people.

Honestly, no one part grabbed me. Instead, Love Child is a constantly flowing story. The switching back and forth between time periods was done well and did not hinder the flow of the story at all. I found Bill to be a very interesting character who was often too hard on herself – she was never able to figure out who she really was.

Love Child isn't a long book, but it doesn't need to be. It was a satisfying read set in a unique time and place that I haven't come across often. It was engaging and beautifully written – a nice, solid read.