This review has been made possible thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.
This book is full of parallels, symmetry and similarities of Maeve and her mum Ruth, as they both reflect on spending their summer in the old family house that belonged to Maeve’s grandfather and both partake in forbidden relationships. Ruth thinks back to the summer spent with her friends by the river, dressing up as various characters and taking pictures of each other while Maeve, who has just gone into remission from cancer treatment, is pursuing an affair with her mum’s old friend photographer Stuart, who has her pose similarly as a variety of characters, including Ophelia and Persephone.
My favourite quote from this, that I felt really set the tone for the whole book and left you on edge for the whole book was:
“And the idea that both of them, Maeve and her mother, are spending their adolescence in the same place, that those neat slices of life might be held up and compared to one another, makes her uneasy.”Jane Healey, The Ophelia Girls, page 7
With Maeve’s rebellious streak coming out and her becoming more daring and wild, Ruth starts getting flashbacks to her own youth and how that ended tragically for one of the five Ophelia Girls, as they called themselves. As the summer goes on, we learn more about the relationship between the girls and we see parallels of Ruth’s adolescence in Maeve. I think Healey did an excellent job describing the scene, I loved the imagery of the river and the crumbling Manor House, and the common miscommunications that Maeve and her parents came to as teenager and parents. This novel is a great coming of age story that also helps adults reminisce on their younger days and first loves.
I thought there was no better playlist for this book that songs like ophelia on Spotify, I can tell you it’s the soundtrack that’s been playing on repeat