Suddenly nothing is like it used to be. Inga’s husband has a heart attack and no longer exists.
For two years she pushes away her sorrow, tries to make herself useful, buries herself in work. But a malicious remark triggers a collapse. She escapes to her family’s summer house in Marstrand, where she hopes to recover and regain some internal peace.
By coincidence she finds an old box of papers, newspaper cuttings and, at the bottom, a letter postmarked in 1916, in Mombasa, Kenya. Inga’s curiosity is awakened, particularly by a few cryptic lines at the end of the letter.
With a new sense of urgency she continues looking for an explanation, and at the same time distracts herself from thinking about the present. Her research takes her deep into her family history, to an event that took place in the backdrop to the First World War. She realises that another woman’s fate has affected her own life more than she ever knew.
Always With You is a broadly constructed novel about the power of memory over the present, and about reconciliation with the past. Maria Ernestam has created a personal, vivid story that does not evade the big questions of sorrow and loss, friendship and strong love.
An impressively crafted novel.
– Theodor Kallifatides