Another free Kindle edition I found while, for the first two or three weeks after I received my Kindle, I was almost daily browsing the Kindle store, building up a library of well over 80 books (fiction and non fiction), almost all of them for free.
This novel by Mary W. Walters was first published in 1989, Amazon tells me.
The main character, Diana Guthrie, is seen heading back to her childhood home, where she has not been for 15 years; driven away by not only a strict and seemingly loveless mother, but by the generally restrictive atmosphere in the small town she grew up in as well as by a tragic event that changed her life forever and left her scarred.
She is going there now because she feels it is the right thing to do: she was told her mother is dying.
Already on the way back, her mind goes back and forth between past and present. We learn about the way things were dealt with at the Guthrie household, and begin to understand why Diana wanted to leave, HAD to leave in order for being a person in her own right.
Once arrived, Diana gets mixed reactions from the people there - her brother, an old school friend, the housekeeper, the family doctor and others -, and she herself is thrown into a turmoil of conflicting emotions, too.
It takes a while before she decides to climb the stairs and meet "the woman upstairs" who is, of course, her mother.
The book ends on a note that leaves the reader to imagine what Diana is going to do next; stay or leave again? Has she really begun to come to terms with the past?
I liked this novel. It was well written, atmospheric, and I could picture the places and characters in my mind. There were a few surprises for me; for instance, many authors like to use the weather or seasons for dramatic effect, and at first, I was sure Mary W. Walters was about to do that as well, and expected the oppressive humid heat described from when Diana first lands at the airport to dissolve into a huge tempest at the culmination of events and emotions. It does not happen, and that is maybe her way of using weather for dramatic effect - nothing goes "bang", suddenly changing Diana's whole approach to the past and to her mother, but things happen more subtly here, which is probably a lot more difficult to write.