What a fabulous story strong characters that leapt off the pages and became so real the setting is beautiful with such a great name Remarkable Bay and it was so remarkable to bring generations together without knowing they had all been there, there is a definite pull for this family to return.Three Miss Allen sisters growing up in the 1930 s and at Remarkable Bay for their summer holiday and it will be their last time together like this with Adeline about to get married Ruby contemplating marriage and young Clara hiding a devastating secret that will change all of their lives forever.Then eighty odd years later Ruby s great granddaughter Roma buys the guest house that they had stayed in and Adeline s great granddaughter comes to stay as well and when a guest book is found and there is a mystery to try and uncover another Allen sister that no one had heard about, new people to meet who all have ties with Remarkable Bay and the Allen family and perhaps links with past generations makes this one a story that will keep you turning the pages.This is a compelling story that covers some tough issues like domestic violence and secrets that have been kept by past and present generations hard decisions to be made on whether these secrets should be kept or told and of loves that are true or not All in all this was a story that I savoured every word it is beautifully written and there were tears and joy with the past and present I cannot highly recommend this one enough do yourself a favour and get compfy while you read this one because you are not going to want to put it down yes this one is going to stay with me for a while it already has me re thinking about it and the characters while doing tasks around the house fabulous story. Finally getting around to typing a proper review of this, some three months after finishing Even now, this is still one of my most favourite reads of 2017, and arguably my favourite This was the first of Victoria s I had read, and like I mentioned in my initial reaction here, I truly hope she writes many historical fiction stories in the future I was absolutely thrilled when she told me that she is This story takes place over two different eras, initially starting in 2016 when Roma Harris moves to the tiny Remarkable Bay, and moves into, what becomes arguably the most important character if you like, the old guesthouse Bayview Her cousin Addy soon follows her, at the request of Roma s big brother Leo who is worried about his little sister after an extremely tough time over the last five years or so Addy s got her own issues to try and sort out, so it works for her too While the girls are renovating the rather dilapidated Bayview they find an old guestbook and stumble across their great grandmothers names, Rudy and Adeline, in that book from eighty years previous and also a name they ve never heard of, Clara Allen This is the perfect segue for stepping back in time to 1934 when Victoria gives us the story of their summer in 1934 The story flips back and forth in time and little by little we uncover the truth behind the mystery of Clara Allen and what happened to her I also love how we find out about Roma and Addy too The only minor issue I had with this is the typos occasionally Roma and Rudy were incorrectly used I absolutely loved this book to bits, and have no hesitation in recommending it for lovers of historical and Australian fiction I cannot wait for the next venture into historical fiction from Victoria, and I ll be also making every effort to read some of her previous work. In , The Three Miss Allens Ruby, Adeline And Clara Arrive In The Seaside Town Of Remarkable Bay For Their Annual Summer Holiday It S The Last Time They Ll Spend Summers As A Family Adeline Is Engaged, Ruby Is Weighing Up An Offer, And Clara Is Just Eighteen And About To Start Her Life But By Summer S End, The Lives They Have Known Will Change Irrevocably And A Mysterious Secret Will Tear The Family ApartEighty Two Years Later, Ruby S Great Granddaughter Roma Harris Moves To The Now Sleepy Remarkable Bay, Retreating From Tragedy Roma S Distant Cousin Addy Arrives Too, Fleeing A Life With Too Much Drama It S Only When The Women Discover An Old Guest Book That They Start Asking Questions About The Mysterious Third Miss Allen Who Was She Why Has She Disappeared From The Family S History If They Solve This Mystery From Their Past, Could It Change The Women S Futures The story starts in 2016 with Roma Harris who has bought a large old house in need of repair at Remarkable Bay, a small place on the coast of South Australia She sees it as the start of a new life after the death of her husband three years earlier I loved the setting and the name of the place, Remarkable Bay Remarkable Bay had been the site of many family holidays when she was young, holidays that included her cousin Addy Roma is less than impressed when at her brother Leo s request, Addy lobs on the doorstep of her house which she is starting to renovate.The two women find a guest book from 1934 when the house operated as a guest house It contains the names of both their grandmothers, Ruby and Adeline Allen But who is Clara, the other Miss Allen in the guest book The mystery intrigues Roma and Addy and they are keen to find out But she seems to have disappeared from any record What could have happened to her I liked the way the two stories, from the present day and starting from 1934 were twined together However that also became a problem, as than once the author confused the names While in the older story about Ruby, in several places her name becomes Roma It was disconcerting At first I thought I was overtired and not reading properly Then it happened again Pages 82, and 98 are two examples Maybe that is a problem of having names that start with the same letters and the wrong name wasn t picked up in the editing process The story was interesting and I liked Roma, Keira and Connor, Roma s next door neighbour and others were well portrayed Two of the male characters are despicable in the way they treat women but the reader is meant to thoroughly dislike them and with good reason Other male characters like Connor and Cain were lovely Although the author did her best to try and explain reasons why Addy behaves as she does, I struggled with reading about her, her attitudes, selfishness and the liberal use of the f word mostly associated with passages about her At times I just got sick of her and put the book down for a while Another problem I had was the overuse of the word obfuscated which crops up several times So while I found it interesting and enjoyed some aspects of this book and the story line in general, for me, it wasn t a perfect read It was however a good read with an interesting setting, story line and characters Other people may enjoy it and find it engrossing than I did. I actually would like to give this than 5 stars and I have no idea how I m going to write a spoilerless, objective review.The Three Miss Allens is a step outside the comfort zone of author Victoria Purman, it s like nothing she has written before and it is amazing I love this story, I love these characters and the setting is just divine.Once again Purman keeps us in her home state of South Australia and much of the story takes place on the coast a couple of kms along from Victor Harbor We aren t heading to Middle Point this time though the three Miss Allens spend their summer holidays in Remarkable Bay.The story opens in 2016 with Roma Harris packing up her Adelaide life to move to Remarkable Bay and hide out at Bayview, the dilapidated old house she s bought Roma spent many childhood summers in Remarkable Bay with her family though never staying at Bayview, by the time she was summering on the coast the house was already in its twilight years and used as a squat.Roma has been doing it tough for a few years and she finally got to the point she needed an escape, and something drew her to Remarkable Bay With no long term plans Roma leaves her job, packs up and sells her house and makes her sea change She s happy to cocoon herself in her new house, insulated from the world and live in isolation That s not what life has in store for her thoughLeo is Roma s brother and he s worried about her he s worried about why his sensible and cautious sister would leave everything and move to Remarkable Bay after sinking a small fortune into a house that even the real estate agent thinks is better off knocked down to subdivide the block and build modern townhouses His concern sees him call a distant cousin who was once quite close to the family and ask her to head down to Remarkable Bay and check on Roma.Addy takes a much needed break from her Adelaide life and heads down to Remarkable Bay, the film she had been working on had just hit a delay anyway Bayview is far from anything Addy is used to but she pitches in to help Roma tidy and refresh the place it s her that finds the mysterious old guestbook that lists three Miss Allens staying in the house in 1934.This is where the story forks into two time periods, we continue to follow Roma and Addy in 2016 but we also head back to 1934 to enjoy the summer with Ruby, Adeline and Clara Allen at Bayview The distant cousins happen to be joined by the Allen sisters Roma is Ruby s great granddaughter and Addy is the great granddaughter of Adeline but neither of them ever remember hearing mention of a Clara.That s as much of the story as I really want to tell, actually it s probably than I want to tell, but it s late on a Friday night and I had trouble starting this review.The Three Miss Allens boasts quite an impressive cast and I think this could convincingly be stretched into a series that completely fills the gap between 1934 and 2016, telling us how the close knit family that was the Allens expands through the generations into a family whose branches don t keep in touch it was by pure coincidence that Addy and Roma ended up connecting because they went to school together.There are two complete casts in this story, one in 1934 and one in 2016 In 1934 the Allen family heads to Bayview to holiday for the summer, the girls are at a marrying age so there are fiances and future in laws as well as the Remarkable Bay community, many of whom are also Adelaide families on holiday 2016 sees us get to know Roma and Addy as well as some of the Remarkable Bay community.I think one of the things I love the most about this book is the connections familial and generational But really there is a lot that I love about this book and trying to put it into words without spoiling the intrigue and the suspense is really difficult, regardless of the fact that I should be sleeping.The biggest mystery is this third Miss Allen, who is Clara Allen She wasn t written with the other sisters so was she family, how common was the name, could it be coincidence and if she is related why has no one heard mention of her This is a question that runs right through the story.The parallels between the generations are uncanny which is something I got a real kick out of, it wasn t necessarily a case of history repeating so much as time throwing up similar situations and demonstrating how different the decisions can be depending on the time.Each of the characters have secrets, as do each of the families, and sometimes those secrets are best left buried Time has a way of sorting things out in the end.The Three Miss Allens took me through the complete range of emotions, all the way to rage and anger in stark contrast to the heartbreak and the empathy.What begins as a run and hide defense mechanism slowly transforms into something completely different, something beautiful and empowering even.The Three Miss Allens is a gorgeous tale of new beginnings, the circle of life, the restorative power of the South Australian beaches and the importance of family.It addresses the way that women often compare themselves and measure themselves against someone else never seeing themselves reflected in other eyes and never being able to see yourself the way other people see you That person you are so envious of for whatever reason could have on a mask as convincing as your own and they too only see the face you are projecting, not the real you.The secrets we keep aren t always for the best, of anyone, but all people and all families have secrets and sometimes you just can t tell what damage unearthing them could do. Heartbreakingly delicious is how I would say reading this book was for me I so want to run off and buy an old house and run a B n B A story line to die for and the characters as rich as the best dark chocolate and I cried, and I am not a crier in books I so desperately wanted to finish it yet made my self hold off as I wanted to Saver the whole book Thankfully being self employed I could read at work and I did The Allen Sisters were just written so beautifully I really felt that I had stepped back in time the description was just perfect, so sad for women back then The modern day writing was just was good I loved how you gave us a few chapters of each and didn t rip us the reader out of one time line and into another but gave us time to saver One of the best storylines of this genre I have read this year I just loved this book. Loved it And wondering if it could be perhaps the beginning of a series of stories between 1935 and 2016 Such wonderful characters with so many secrets. Could not put it down Amazing story full review to follow in a couple of days. This is a story set in two separate times but linked by family members It was a nice, easy read which attempted along the way to deal with a number of serious issues including domestic violence and rape For me it was a little too obvious and superficial I had guessed what had happened and by whom for each incident way before its big reveal.However I enjoyed the developing relationships, the dialogue and the characters The author switched easily from one time period to the other and the only thing that caused any confusion was when Ruby was suddenly called Roma Just a misprint or two but confusing for an instant Overall an enjoyable historical romance with a lovely Australian setting. Purman is best known for her fresh contemporary romance stories set in her home state of South Australia Purman changes direction for her 2016 release, The Three Miss Allens Although this story is set in South Australia, it is a melding of a historical 1930 s set storyline, which crosses over to a contemporary, 2016 based storyline The connection between the two narratives is strong, as the ties and secrets families keep is the overriding theme of this memorable novel.In the present day, Roma Harris is a young woman grieving over the loss of her husband Her grief sends her packing from her life in the city of Adelaide and it takes her to the beautiful coastline of Remarkable Bay Joining Roma in her new abode is her distant cousin Addy, who is also using Remarkable Bay as a retreat, after her dramatic life becomes too much to bear As Roma starts the renovation process, the cousins make a startling discovery An old guest book from their new residence reveals the existence of three sisters who once stayed at this residence in the 1930 s as a holiday home However, the cousins are aware of the existence of two Miss Allens, but not a third The search to find out what happened to the mysterious third Miss Allen forms part of Roma and Addy s new preoccupation This family mystery travels back to 1934, a year when Adeline, Clara and Ruby Allen, travel with their parents to partake in their annual summer holiday in the picturesque coastal locale of Remarkable Bay It is a time of change for the Allen family and this holiday marks the end of their time together as a family unit With Adeline happily betrothed, Ruby considering a proposal and Clara almost ready to join her sisters, the future looks promising for the three Miss Allens As the season comes to a close at Remarkable Bay, a shocking event and the family secret that follows is enough to fracture the Allen family The effects reverberate across the decades, impacting on the lives of those related to the Miss Allens.I always enjoy Victoria Purman s novels, she has an uncanny ability to bring the perfect combination of characterisation, setting and a full bodied narrative to her novels Purman steps it up a notch in her latest novel The Three Miss Allens is a novel that touched me, it was a heartbreaking and heart warming, from the opening to the close of the novel.Purman takes a different approach to structuring her latest novel Best known for her contemporary romance novels, The Three Miss Allens does contain a 2016 contemporary thread, with plenty of love to satisfy seasoned romance readers However, Purman adds another intriguing layer to her story A 1930 s based storyline, which is linked to the contemporary storyline, is perfectly executed Purman does a fine job of portraying the social graces and attitudes of the 1930 s The historical aspect of the book was so well handled It also gave a specific insight into societal expectations in South Australia It is this storyline that allows Purman the opportunity to tackle some fairly heavy themes such as rape, pregnancy out of wedlock, adoption and abuse Purman handles each of these themes with a deft hand.Purman deserves credit for her characterisation, which is of a high standard, both in the past and present storylines In the contemporary storyline, Roma in particular stood out to me Her situation drew much sympathy and empathy Addy is equally compelling and Leo was a lovely male influence in Roma s life In the past storyline, I was very much taken with Ruby Allen She was a loyal and noble character I felt the heartbreak of the decisions she made in love and life right through the entire novel Adeline was a well drawn protagonist, representing a typical young woman of this era Clara was less defined, but I believe this was a conscious decision on behalf of Purman to reveal less about this character to the audience It certainly served to heighten the tension and intrigue in the novel The central mystery and the overwhelming reason why I kept reading this novel was the whole Clara storyline I will confess to having predicted what happened to Clara, but the after effects of this event took me by utter surprise I will say my heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest when I read the passages involving the final circumstances to Clara s whereabouts.As we come to expect with Victoria Purman, the romance in the present day was simply divine I also liked how Purman handled the topic of grief Purman s aptitude for delivering a high quality romance also extends to her historical storyline The courting experiences and eventual marriages highlight the issues, in particular the lack of decision making these young women faced It all seems quite unfathomable now, but it did happen.With an appealing coastal South Australian setting, reflecting Purman s love for her home state really shines through this novel The dual narrative combination of the past and present was seamless Family and the secrets we keep across generations is what defines this novel Purman has outdone herself with The Three Miss Allens.
Victoria Purman is a multi published, award nominated, Kindle bestselling Australian author She is a regular guest at writers festivals and has been nominated for a number of readers choice awards If you want to know about her and her books, visit
- 395 pages
- The Three Miss Allens
- Victoria Purman
- 10 September 2017 Victoria Purman