The House at Evelyn's Pond
Allen & Unwin, $24.95 pb, 312 pp
On the front cover of Wendy Orr’s new novel, we are advised: ‘This [book] is a treat for fans of Tyler, Wesley and Trollope.’ Apart from any predisposed posed feelings you may have for the work of Anne Tyler, Mary Wesley and Joanna Trollope, this small sentence is a useful positioning statement for the potential reader.
We are in the realm of books as a treat, where reading is an indulgent pleasure and readers are devotees of books that are commonly identified as ‘domestic fiction’. From what I can gather, the hallmarks of domestic fiction are stories, primarily written by women, with a focus on relationships and families, in a ‘highly readable’ style that features ‘acute and perceptive observations’, ‘warmth’, ‘sensitivity’ and ‘humour’; in short, the literary equivalent of SeaChange.