Sarah Marchley is eleven years old when her mother dies. Completely unprepared and suffering an acute sense of loss, she and her father continue quietly, trying to live by the well-intentioned advice of friends, hoping that time really is a great healer and that they will, eventually, move on.
Life changes very little until Sarah leaves for university and begins her first serious relationship. Along with her new boyfriend comes his mother, the indomitable Hazel Poole. Despite some misgivings, Sarah finds herself drawn into the matriarchal Poole family and discovers that gaining a mother figure in her life brings mixed blessings.
Looking Past is a tale of family, friendship, love, life and death – not necessarily in that order.
This is the second novel from Katharine E. Smith, author of Writing the Town Read. The narrator’s voice is clear and strong, with vivid descriptions and intelligent observations. Readers will quickly empathise with Sarah, the sadness of whose circumstances is contrasted with a dry and sometimes subtle humour derived from situations and characters which help colour the book.
This is a story guaranteed to strike a chord with mothers, daughters – and daughters-in-law – everywhere.