Once installed in the Mill as Michael's wife, Rose sees a different picture. Despite her gentle manner, Mrs Dowland rules her family with a rod of iron. More worrying to Rose is the change in Michael who is no longer the loving man she married. But Rose is only beginning to discover the truth about the family at Dowland's Mill . . .
Geneva had a sickening sensation that Jane was reaching out from the grave. "Not really. I met her once," she said.
Elizabeth grew more alert. "Where?"
"Here at Brookhurst at a dinner party." She thought of Jane's tidy figure in a pink chemise and silver slave bracelets; her cold blue eyes and cruel mouth set in a pale, flat complexion. The saucy way she sat with feet tucked under her on the sofa in the drawing room-the most formal chamber in the house.
A considerable pause. A frown of concentration. "Then, was thisbefore she married my father?" Elizabeth asked slowly.
Another pause. "So you knew my father before he married my mother."
"Yes," Geneva said. She would have thought this obvious, given that Emelye was Tony's child with her, and was several months older than Elizabeth. Then she realized it would be far beyond the ability of a child less than eight years old to piece that sort of information together.
Elizabeth pressed her bangs again, ran her tongue over her lips. Still avoiding looking at Geneva, she asked, "Was my mother was she nice then?"
Jack Andrews was having a tough time. He'd come back from the First World War to find his wife had 'got religion'.She'd got it so badly that she finally went off, left Jim and the three children and joined Father Peter's League of Repenters. She never really came home again. Jack and the children managed as best they could, but things were pretty tough when Aunt Edie turned up. The first thing she did was give her cousin, Maud Andrews, a piece of her mind for running off and leaving her family. But when that didn't do any good, Edie moved in and took over the Andrews family. For the first time in years life began to look good again. Aunt Edie was warm, generous, kind, and, above all, she was their very own Pearly Queen.
Unexpectedly, Len's job took the newly married couple overseas, where their first child was born. But sorrow, not joy, came with Dominic's birth. On their return, Lucy's best friend, Jennifer, as flighty as Lucy was conventional, was anxious to provide her own kind of consolation...
Martha, who was experiencing unlooked-for and at first unwelcome changes in her own life, clung fast to the maternal bond that meant so much to herself and Lucy. Everything she had come to depend on was overturned, however, before Martha was able to find her own kind of happiness in a very different existence.
One of Susan Sallis's most poignant and involving novels, The Keys to the Garden explores the mother-daughter relationship with a rare insight.