Book Review: Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbery

It was the day when everything stopped, and something started that was quite different, that couldn’t be controlled or shaped or ended.

At quarter past two on a hot afternoon in August, Anna’s beautiful, headstrong older sister, Rose, disappears.

Twenty years later, and Anna still doesn’t know whether Rose is alive or dead. In her early thirties now, she sees her life unfolding – with sensible, serious Martin and a grown-up, steady job – and finds herself wondering if this is really what she wants.

Unable to take control of her life while the mystery of her sister’s disappearance remains unsolved, Anna begins to search for the truth: what did happen to Rose that summer’s day?

What I Thought:

Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon is definitely more of a slow-burning novel, than an instant page turner. The characters reveal their stories and secrets in flashback and there is more than enough going on to keep the plot going.

The book is almost immediately about Rose and her disappearance – but then as we read more about her, we see that she was always the centre of attention. As the book continues, you see that it is, in fact, more about Anna and the family Rose left behind. Everything Anna does is tainted by Rose’s disappearance, but when we meet her, she is having something of an epiphany after realising that she is going for the safer options in her life, but does she really want it that way?

I thought Anna and Sandra, the girls’ mother, were really compelling characters and I actually didn’t take to Rose in her flashback scenes – she was a little too dramatic for my taste, but then I wonder if this was the point – she’s so dominant and is still exerting her influence, even after she has been gone for 20 years.

I was surprised by how the book wound up, but it was a satisfying ending and felt right for Anna after all we had learned about her in the book. It was also good to see Sandra’s story resolved as she seemed to have the most out of all the characters to reveal and come to terms with.

This is definitely a highly recommended book and an excellent first foray into writing for adults from Linda Newbery.

In case you missed it, I took part in the blog tour for this book yesterday and Linda Newbery kindly wrote a short piece about how Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon developed as a novel. It’s well worth a read.

Note: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher to provide a review, and take part in the blog tour, but all opinions are my own.

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