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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The women in Helena Mayrick's family have always led secretive and tragic lives, and when Helena's comfortable marriage is devastated by her husband's violent death, it seems that she, too, is locked into the cycle.

Helena is invited to research a book on her grandfather, H. Donaldson, the celebrated Edwardian photographer. At first she is reluctant to immerse herself in fa
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 8th 2009 by Phoenix (first published January 1st 1997)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Misha  Mathew
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Footsteps is a work of literature. Books like these are the reason why literary fiction is my favorite genre.I don't understand why Katharine McMahon is not so well-known. She portrays such powerful strong and inspiring women. As a feminist, I adore such novels. More than that , her novels are always well-written.
When Helena Mayrick is asked to help in researching a book about her famous photographer grandfather,Donaldson, she is apprehensive.Not only has she recently lost her husband but there
Jenny Mitcham
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Molly Tierney
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not my favorite of hers, but complex and compelling.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Love and family secrets through the generations is the theme of this book. The book begins with Helena Mayrick learning of the death of her young husband and is partly about how she learns to cope with this. At the same time she is asked to help put together a book about a famous photographer, Donaldson, who is a grandfather she knows about but never met. Helena comes from a legacy of tragic female ancestors, including a great, great grandmother who walked into the sea one day to kill herself, a ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm a fan of McMahon's other novels: The Alchemist's Daughter and The Rose of Sebastopol, so it came as no surprise that I enjoyed this one too. It made it even more special that it's set near where I live, McMahon has successfully captured what it's like to live on the wind swept East Anglian coast!
Set in two different times, the Edwardian past and the near present, the novel explores the connection between two families and the repercussions of love and loss in both time frames. The novel is be
Deborah Swift
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Following the death of Helena's husband in an unexpected accident, Helena receives a letter inviting her to help in a biography of Donaldson - a voice from the past. Donaldson is a photographer, and like a photograph, the book unravels its secrets gradually, showing how mistakes in the past affect the mental health of those in succeeding generations. The book vividly recreates the seaside house at Westwich with its ruined church, the repressive attitude towards women in the Edwardian era,and how ...more
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This novel jumps between past and present, and in some cases I have found that device irritating, or just confusing. However, both timelines are presented clearly, so I was at least able to keep up with the plot! Although the parallels between the characters of Westwich in the past and those with links to it in the present are at times a little obvious and cliched (Donaldson's wild hair, for example), I found it easy to overlook because the novel is well written, particularly those passages with ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This story is told in two different time periods and so very well done. Both era's are depicted so very well.

The story of a present day Helena involves a widow who is grieving for her husband who dies whilst mountain climbing. She is asked to collabarate on a book about her Grandfather - Donaldson. This then links to her Grandmother Ruth who died soon after the birth of her daughter.

Ruth's story is one of a girl born in the Edwardian era where opportunities were few and familial duty a high prio
Katie Grainger
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
This book grew on me, at the beginning I thought it was going to be a difficult read. As the story progressed I got more swept away by the lives of the characters involved. I found Ruth a hard person to like but her complicated personality made her an intriguing prospect. Coupled with this the coastal landscape was pivotal to the plot. I did find this book had a slow start but I enjoyed it more as the story evolved.
Jo Barton
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Katharine McMahon seems to have a penchant for writing about the lives of strong and determined women, and this book continues the theme really well. It's sometimes difficult for an author to contain two time frames without one overshadowing the other but it's done so seemlessly in this book, that you find yourself just going along with the flow.Beautifully written .....I think this must be my favourite one of her books ,so far.

Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this book.First one by her and will certainly read more.
Beth (bibliobeth)
There are a lot of characters to deal with as this book switches between the past and the present but I enjoyed this feature and will be reading more of the authors work.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book to begin with but I found it was not one that you could leave a lot of time in between reading, as I kept forgetting the characters and how they related to the story.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Did not finish, read the start but did not capture me and I have too many other books I want to read
Jul 29, 2011 added it
I enjoyed this book as much as as the others I have read from this author. Very moving in places and so heart wrenchingly romantic towards the end. Recommended.
Hannah Harrison
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A compelling read.
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Katharine McMahon is the author of 10 novels, including the bestselling The Rose of Sebastopol, which was a Richard and Judy pick for 2007. The Crimson Rooms and The Alchemist's Daughter.

Her latest book, The Hour of Separation, is our in paperback on 22nd August.

Her fiction is based on the lives of extraordinary women. She loves to explore how women in the past - but with a contemporary slant. T
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