This is one of those novels that grows on you. In some ways it is a bit confusing, convoluted, and it takes a while to get in to. By the end, I was thoroughly charmed, really enjoyed the book, but was glad that it was done.
This is the story about Ruby Lennox and the relationships around her that form part of her matrix and who she will become (eventually) as an adult. At times I found this book fascinating, and at other times I had to skim read through sections. The prose is well-written, and I think that Atkinson really captured something here. This is a woman's book, a woman's history. Although technically about Ruby, this book delves in to her mother and grandmother's lives, and the family that surrounds them - their successes and tragedies, and their movement through time. I think this is a novel that will stick with me for a while, and the end is rewarding as all the threads come together.
It reminded me a bit of some of my family history - the stories you hear about your aunts and uncles, your grandparents... those whispered bits of history and half-truths that you are semi-conscious of as a child growing up and the history you fabricate for yourself as an adult. Well worth a read and I have heard that her later books (a mystery series) are quite good and you know how I feel about a well-written mystery! Bring it on!