I had already read several of Santa Montefiore's books, three set in Argentina or Chile and two in Italy. Looking back, I was surprised to see what varied ratings I'd given them.
This book starts out in Argentina and I was hoping for another excellent read, but, although most of the events are set in Argentina, it is an expat version of the country; clubs, swimming and afternoon teas. I detected very little of the real country behind all the fluff.
The central character is Audrey, older sister to the vibrant Isla. When we meet them they are on the cusp of adulthood; Isla is not yet interested in men but Audrey finds herself attracted to one of the two brothers who come to work for her father. Cecil and Louis Forrester are two very different men; Cecil has been honoured for his successes in the war, while Louis did not fight and is more ethereal, a gifted musician. Audrey ends up marrying the one she doesn't love and the story evolves from there.
I was rather irritated by the repetition of various themes, particularly the idea that beauty is only skin deep and a nasty personality can show through no matter how beautiful you are. this was endlessly overplayed through the novel.
The book was a bit over-long, which gave plenty of time for character development. My favourite character was Audrey's third child, Grace, who could see spirits and read futures. However, most of the other folk in the novel had lost my interest by the time I got to the end. I do admit to shedding a few tears though, so 3 1/2 stars.
I have also read, by this author:
Meet Me Under the Ombu Tree (4 stars)
The Butterfly Box (4 stars)
The Swallow and the Hummingbird (3 stars)
Last Voyage of the Valentina (2 stars)
The Gypsy Madonna (5 stars)