Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Redferne Lane, Sarah Scholefield’s debut novel, traces Grace’s tumultuous relationship with the Redferne family. Following Ezra Redferne’s untimely death, just months after their wedding, Grace drinks and pops pills to blunt her volatile emotions. Hardly living up to her name, Grace struggles to keep her house clean, get to work on time and follow Ezra’s oldest brother, Torin’s, solicitous advice about self-care. Depicting Grace’s reluctant recovery under the care of her small community, Redferne Lane is a tenderhearted and very real story of loss and renewal.
Grace isn’t the only one with troubles. Leaving her own Redferne cottage one morning, Grace witnesses Ada, an elderly resident of another Redferne cottage out riding her bike, collide with both Jerome, son of Redferne mansion cleaner, and Eliza, teenage daughter of Noah, the mansion’s owner. Grace and Jerome vie to nurse feisty Ada back to health and Eliza and Jerome begin a clandestine romance. Noah’s wife is pregnant with her third bouncing boy while uncle Torin comes to live with the growing family. Torin checks in on Grace but isn’t sure how close to get, given their history and her downward spiral. The chapters toggle back and forth between past and present, mirroring the way history creeps into current states of affairs.
Through key revelatory interactions with Ada, Jerome, Eliza and Torin, Grace makes peace with Ezra’s passing and starts to move forward. She is subtly drawn, revealed through others’ affections for her as well as her own clumsy, artsy charm. Through Redferne birthday and holiday parties, family dinners and informal cigarette breaks and after work drinks, the Redferne characters come to earthy and colorful life. The novel is full of compassion and tough love, written in straight forward, yet fleshy language. A redemptive read. Find the book on Goodreads