Set in Margaret River, Western Australia, In the Company of Strangers brings together a diverse mix of characters. Cat, the owner of Benson’s Reach – a 30 hectare property of holiday cottages, a lavender and berry farm, gift shop and café – has passed away. She leaves the property to her nephew Declan and her estranged friend Ruby. Cat and Ruby met as children, when they were orphaned in London during the bombings of World War II. Declan and Ruby are forced to work together to keep Benson’s Reach running, along with the remaining staff – the troubled Paula, young Todd whose mother has abandoned him to live with her boyfriend in Bali, and Fleur who runs the gift shop but has handed in her notice. They are joined by Declan’s friend Alice who harbours a tragic secret and Lesley, a deeply unhappy woman who has left her husband of 35 years.
Liz Byrski’s characters are all more than they initially appear. As you read their stories you are drawn into the complexities of their lives, and the secrets and hurts that they have kept for many years. I enjoyed reading In the Company of Strangers and would recommend it as a first-rate holiday read.
In the Company of Strangers by Liz Byrski
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