The Wishing Hill by Holly Robinson
A luminous novel of buried secrets.
What if everything you knew about your life was wrong?
Years ago, Juliet Clark gave up her life in California to follow the man she loved to Mexico and pursue her dream of being an artist. Now her marriage is over, and she’s alone, selling watercolors to tourists on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk.
When her brother asks her to come home to wintery New England and care for their ailing mother, a flamboyant actress with a storied past, Juliet goes reluctantly. She and her self-absorbed mother have always clashed. Plus, nobody back home knows about her divorce—or the fact that she’s pregnant and her ex-husband is not the father.
Juliet intends to get her mother back on her feet and return to Mexico fast, but nothing goes as planned. Instead she meets a man who makes her question every choice and reawakens her spirit, even as she is being drawn into a long-running feud between her mother and a reclusive neighbor. Little does she know that these relationships hold the key to shocking secrets about her family and herself that have been hiding in plain sight.…
About Holly Robinson:
I never meant to be a writer. I studied biology in college because I wanted to be a doctor – preferably one of those doctors who’s always jetting off to villages in Africa to save thousands of lives in a single weekend. But life intervened during my last semester of college, when I chose a class in creative writing.
From the moment I sat down to write, I became completely absorbed in my work. While I was writing, seven hours could pass like seven minutes. To the horror of my parents, I abandoned the idea of medical school to become a writer, promising that, if I didn’t get to be rich or famous in, oh, a year or so, I’d let common sense rule and find a real career.
Of course, none of that happened. A year went by. Two. Then more. As I became even more engrossed in the writing process, I did what all writers do to support my secret habit: I worked a thousand odd jobs, from proofreading telephone books (really) to construction. I kept writing, filling up the corners of my life and lots of paper with words.
Then one day, as I was driving home from the grocery store, a title floated across the windshield of my car: The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter. After I finished laughing, my mouth went dry. I knew I had the title of my first book, which sets out to answer this question: How did my father, a career Navy man, end up on a farm with 9,000 gerbils?
What Booklist says about The Wishing Hill:
Juliet Clark knew things were too good to be true. She followed her husband to Puerto Vallarta, selling her paintings almost faster than she could finish them, until Michael declared that he didn’t love her anymore.
While Juliet slowly starts putting the pieces of her life back together, she learns that her mother, Desiree, has broken a hip and decides to fly back to the Boston suburbs to care for her. Juliet and Desiree have always had a tense relationship, but after Juliet discovers a few of her mother’s deepest secrets, their already rocky relationship may be forever altered.
Robinson’s first novel sparkles with warmth and wit while tackling the prickly sides of a mother-daughter relationship. Juliet and Desiree are real and relatable heroines, and Robinson’s background in journalism shows in a clear, concise writing style.
With deeply emotional passages tempered by humor and some surprising romance, Robinson’s portrayal of family members striving to forge deeper connections after self-imposed absences is compelling. Fans of Martha Southgate and Heidi W. Durrow will enjoy this tender, full-hearted tale of quiet triumphs, mended fences, and new connections. –Stephanie Turza