Where Dragonflies Hover
When a stranger's life is more intriguing than your own ...
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Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …
Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.
Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.
Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …
a wonderful sense of healing and sharing shine through
I’m a sucker for these dual-timeline stories that use a small connection to tell two stories, as each informs the other as they unfold. In present day there is Alexandria (Lexi) who has found refuge in her adoration of an old grand house in Yorkshire: refuge from her failing marriage, her struggles with redefining her life along a path that both interests her and allows her to work to save her marriage, and the innate sadness she had in watching the love she and her husband Dylan share just not be ‘enough’. Discovering Hollingsworth House as she is looking forward to a new home for a new start with her marriage, Lexi is instantly captivated: the run-down manor will need significant work, but the scene, setting and vibe all call to her.
Purchasing Hollingsworth signals the end of Lexi’s marriage, as Dylan is unwilling, or unable to support or understand her choice. Now faced with her own sorrow and memories, Lexi finds a diary from Alexandria (Allie) written in 1945 as the then pain-riddled woman, determined to tell her story, is spending time at the manor.
What emerges are two stories: one quietly harrowing as Lexi’s wistful memories of a love lost and Allie’s tales of nursing in France during WWI come to light. While Allie’s stories of nursing are evocative and often heartbreaking, her true purpose in this diary is to provide hope to anyone who may find it – and is in need of some reaffirmation that love, real love, exists.
There are so many moments in this story that are gently (and not so) tugging at your heart: from the clearly illustrated fracture in Lexi and Dylan’s marriage, to the sadness that I felt that neither was willing to grab and hold on – they both still love one another, but neither took the chance to declare it, demand change, or work to show it. Then we have Allie’s story – rich in history and detail, with a love thread that examines all of the ways to lose that love, and the memories: bittersweet and nostalgic, that she is bequeathing to the reader.
Wonderful detail, historic elements and fully developed characters without a single character to dislike. So often when a relationship dissolves, there are clear elements that make you dislike one or another of the characters: but this was not the case here. Everyone was, in some ways, a victim of circumstance and surety: sure that their love would be enough, sure that things would allow for that happily ever after, not realizing that like any large manor house or garden, relationships and love need tending and maintenance: often something we all tend to forget. Perfectly illustrating these moments through past and present while bringing the hope to the forefront – hope for Lexi as she learns from Allie and her story and a wonderful sense of healing and sharing shine through. A wonderfully evocative novel that is sure to please fans of historic fiction and romance alike.