Holding On (by Marcia Willett)

It's been a couple of months since I re-read the first in the Chadwick trilogy ('Looking Forward") by Marcia Willett. So I thought it a good idea to read the sequel, 'Holding On'.

The three orphaned children of the first book, Fliss, Mole and Susanna, are grown-up now. Fliss is married to the much older Miles, expecting their first baby. Mole is enjoying a naval career. Susanna is an art student. Their family home, The Keep, is still presided over by their grandmother Freddy who is now almost eighty.

It's a saga type of novel, taking is through the years focusing on the various members of the Chadwick family and their loved ones. There are several sections, each four years apart, from 1972 up to 1986. Each one begins with a brief summary of what happened in the intervening years.

There are, inevitably, several sad losses as the older generation become more frail and elderly, including a particularly moving section of the book towards the end. But there are also births, and new loves, and lots of hope for the future.

It's not quite Rosamunde Pilcher, but very enjoyable light reading with memorable characters. Stands alone, but definitely better after reading the first book. Recommended.

(The last in the Chadwick trilogy is 'Winning Through')

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