The House at Evelyn's Pond, by Wendy Orr

Ruth, an Auxilary Pilot during World War Two, struggles with identity, especially when her mother lets slip that she is adopted. She finds haven in the arms of Bill, a Canadian navigator, who guides her through this trauma and through the catastrophe of losing both her parents in a wartime bombing. Their love is Ruth’s salvation, and endures until Bill’s death fifty years later.

Following his death, Ruth returns to England for the first time since their marriage. While there, she dies and it is her daughter Jane who must escort her home.

Jane has lived in Australia for all her married life – having met an Australian dairy farmer on her first trip to England. Alone without her husband, and with the sadness of her mother’s death to contend with, Jane finds the trip a trip of memories and reflections as she discovers parts of her mother’s past and relives some of her own. Alone in her childhood home she faces uncertainty and a new awareness that troubles her.

Meanwhile, Jane’s own daughter, Megan, is a on a journey of her own. In Canada for the first time, she is on a trek with a chance acquaintance. Her mother is troubled by the thought that this could be a new beginning for her daughter, in this country which is no longer home.

The House at Evelyn’s Pond is a tale of mothers and daughters, of love and of belonging. The similarities between the generations are poignant echoes of deja vu. The differences between these same generations gives each its own story.

A beautifully written exploration of family and of self.

The House at Evelyn’s Pond, by Wendy Orr
Allen & Unwin 2001