The Darling Girls - Emma Burstall (2012)

When world-famous conductor Leo Bruck dies, he leaves behind three grieving women with a mass of unanswered questions. Victoria, the mother of his two children, sees herself as his rightful widow and is relying on a legacy to keep her children and herself comfortable. But when she begins to uncover some shocking secrets from Leo's past, she wonders if she ever really knew him at all. Maddy has been Leo's mistress for eight years, and they have a daughter together. She seems to be an independent woman, with her life sorted, until she gets involved with Victoria's teenage son, and her hard-earned security begins to fall apart. Cat had been Leo's lover for just a year, but as she is already coping with her sick mother and troubled childhood, she takes Leo's death quite hard. And when tragedy strikes her again, she finds it hard to hold it together. The three women are brought together by Leo's death, but can they move on with their lives or will they continue to be under Leo's control? This was an interesting take on adultery, viewing it from the perspective of wife (in all but name), mistresses and the children involved. It delved into how infidelity can affect so many lives in varying ways, and made for an interesting read. The three women involved with Leo are left to pick up the pieces of their lives after his death, and explore exactly what he meant to each of them. As we watch the story unfold, it is touching to see their friendships blossom even under impossible circumstances. An inspiring story of how unexpectedly good things can arise from bad situations. (LO)

The Darling Girls, by Emma Burstall, is about three women who meet for the first time at the funeral of the man they all loved. The summary says: "When world-famous music conductor Leo Bruck dies suddenly, he leaves behind three grieving women and a mass of unanswered questions. Did the man who juggled these simultaneous relationships while thrilling audiences around the globe, direct The Darling Girls like an orchestra? Victoria, his partner of 20 years and mother of two of his children, regards herself as his rightful widow and keeper of his legacy. However, a series of shocking discoveries - revolving around Leo's boyhood flight on the Kindertransport from Nazi-occupied Austria - forces her to re-examine the man she thought she knew and query the very foundation of their relationship. Maddy, mother of Leo's daughter Phoebe, has a high-powered job and seems independent and sorted. But events take a sinister turn when Maddy becomes involved with Victoria's troubled teenage son, and her safe world starts to go awry. Finally there's Cat who, at just 24, is Leo's youngest lover. Coping with a sick mother and battling demons from her childhood, she is finding it increasingly hard to hold it together. Will grief, anger and bitterness blind her to the possibility of ever finding happiness, career fulfilment - and even, perhaps, new love?"

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