This month’s pick of the month from Andrea Peskind-Katz from GREAT THOUGHTS, GREAT READERS is:
The Audrey Hepburn Estate by Brenda Janowitz
Every month, Andrea chooses a book either written by an individual aged 50Plus or written for this awesome community!
This captivating book is a unique blend of historical fiction, romance and mystery! The story begins in present day with Emma going back to the Glen Cove Estate where she lived for many years in the garage apartment. Her mother worked as a maid for the wealthy owners, the Van der Wraaks. The estate, rumored to have a connection to the filming of the move, “Sabrina”, became known as “The Audrey Hepburn Estate”.
When Emma heard the estate would soon be demolished, she felt the need to go back and try to save it. However, her memories from that time in her life were complicated. She never felt fully accepted there, except by her two childhood friends, Henry and Leo, who also live on the property. Henry was the wealthy grandson of the homeowners, and Leo, the son of their driver. Their relationships became complicated when Emma and Henry engaged in a forbidden romantic relationship, yet Henry refused to acknowledge Emma in public. Meanwhile Leo fell in love with Emma, who viewed him as her best friend.
Both the characters and the events in the book are colorfully and meticulously described by Janowitz. I especially loved the dual timeline that clearly illustrated the characters and their relationships through the years. When Emma, Henry and Leo reunited as adults for the first time in over a decade, they found their relationships remained complicated. I found myself rooting for each of the characters at different times as the story unfolded. While the love story was a bit predictable, it was fun. What really made the book hard to put down were all the secrets, both told and untold, and how they shaped the course of everyone’s lives. I did not anticipate all the twists and turns!
You don’t need to be an Audrey Hepburn fan or a fan of the movie, “Sabrina” to enjoy this book, although I greatly enjoyed the author’s notes at the end about how both influenced the book. Everyone can enjoy the interesting concepts addressed in the story by Janowitz. For example, she touches upon the reality of trying to go home again (some say you can’t). She also discusses second chances and forgiveness. I thought about the book long after I finished it.
I was provided a free advance reader copy from Harper Collins Publishing in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared in this review are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brenda Janowitz is the author of seven novels, including THE GRACE KELLY DRESS, which has been optioned for film by Hallmark/ Crown Media. Her eighth novel, THE AUDREY HEPBURN ESTATE, will be published by Harper Collins/ Graydon House on April 18, 2023. Her work also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, The Sunday Times (UK), Salon, Redbook, USA Today, Bustle, The Forward, the New York Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Hello Giggles, Writer’s Digest Magazine, WritersDigest.com, and xojane. Brenda is the former Books Correspondent for PopSugar. She attended Cornell University and Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review. Visit her at http://www.brendajanowitz.com/.
About Andrea Peskind Katz from GREAT THOUGHTS, GREAT READERS:
Andrea Peskind Katz runs Great Thoughts, Great Readers, a Book Salon presented via her private FB group where approximately 5000 prolific readers and authors interact. She also founded Greatthoughts.com, a lifestyle website blog focusing on Great Books and Great Travel. To quote Robert Frost, she created her “second act” career to “unite my avocation and my vocation”. After 20 years in high pressure sales, Andrea retired to spend time doing what she loves best: hanging with her family, reading good books.