"Katherine Wentworth," first published in 1964, is the latest book we're reading & discussing on my D.E. Stevenson fan group.
Katherine is a young widow in Edinburgh, mother to a teenaged stepson and lively boy/girl twins. A chance meeting with her old school friend Zilla leads to a new friendship with Zilla's older brother Alec, as well as a delightful family holiday at Zilla's cottage in the Scottish Highlands. Meanwhile, Katherine's stepson Simon receives an unexpected letter that has enormous implications for his future, and for the family as a whole. Themes of independence versus duty and family expectations run throughout the book and through the lives of several of its characters.
I wouldn't say this was my favourite Stevenson book, but overall, I enjoyed it. Like most of her work, it's perhaps a bit old-fashioned, but full of well-drawn characters with strong morals, and wonderful descriptions. Some of the plotlines seemed a bit ludicrous (so many convenient coincidences, and developments that you can see coming from a mile away...) -- and there are two characters who are so narcissistic and controlling it made ME feel suffocated! -- but Katherine herself is a sympathetic character, and I appreciated her determination to live an independent life and to bring up her children the way their father would have wanted. The book doesn't dwell on Katherine's grief over her husband's untimely death, or how difficult it must have been for her to rebuild her life with only her "elderly" (at 60!!) aunt to support her, but there are some hints of these themes here and there.
I've often described Stevenson's books as the literary equivalent of comfort food... and goodness knows we could all use a bit of comfort right about now!
3.5 stars on Goodreads, rounded up to 4.
We'll be discussing the sequel to this book, "Katherine's Marriage," a little further down the road. (From the title of that one, you can probably guess at how this one ends, lol.)
This was Book #18 read to date in 2020 (Book #4 finished in June). I'm currently at 60% of my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 30 books, and am (for the moment, anyway...!) 4 books ahead of schedule to meet my goal. :)