Family dynamics and friendships exposed
Olivia Parry has everything; a beautiful home nestled in the Mendip Hills, a loving husband in Geoffrey and a bright and thoughtful son, Edward her life seemed settled and fulfilled. But when her husband’s factory goes bust, her world is turned upside down and the diner parties, expensive holidays, personalised number plates and Gucci holdalls would become a thing of the past.
With the imminent repossession of the family’s home and Geoffrey facing bankruptcy, the family are forced to move in with Olivia’s recently widowed mother-in-law, Rowena. Olivia and her mother-in-law have never hit it off and Rowena makes no attempt to hide her disapproval of her daughter-in-law. Geoffrey is an only child and in his mother’s eyes he can do no wrong and as Olivia is concerned, he is mollycoddled.
Trying to make a home for her family in the village rectory with her mother-in-law fills Olivia with dread and so when the chance of becoming a house parent at Edward’s elite boarding school presents itself, Olivia leaps at the chance. It may be hard on her marriage but it will save her the trauma of living with Rowena’s subtle barbs. The consequential strain that this decision, coupled with Geoffrey’s impending bankruptcy, puts on the marriage leads to Geoffrey making a devastating mistake that has far-reaching and tragic consequences for them all and risks pulling the family apart.
This story deals primarily with the build-up to and aftermath of the bombshell that hits the family and their struggle to come to terms with its effects. It has to be said that the main characters in this book have a pretty privileged life and so I did find it a little difficult to empathise with them. However, this is a moving tale of love, betrayal, guilt and hidden secrets. Family dynamics, friendships and relationships are examined, as are the impacts of losing trust in those we love and of changing circumstances. My only criticism would be that the conclusion of the novel is a bit open ended. If you enjoy the books of Hilary Boyd and Santa Montefiore then this may well be one for you.
An Unsuitable Marriage by Colette Dartford is published in paperback on 9th March 2017
Available from Amazon at £8.99
Voyage from Brazil
Brazilian-born doctor André Cabral is living in London when one day he receives a letter from his home country, which he left nearly thirty years ago. A letter he keeps in his pocket for weeks, but tells no one about.
The letter prompts André to remember the days of his youth – torrid afternoons on Ipanema beach with his listless teenage friends, parties in elegant Rio apartments, his after-school job at his father’s plastic surgery practice – and, above all, his secret infatuation with the daughter of his family’s maid, the intoxicating Luana. Unable to resist the pull of the letter, André embarks on a journey back to Brazil to rediscover his past.
This is a lovely book, I so enjoyed reading it and gaining an understanding of Brazil the country and the social structure. Written in the first person by Andre we are taken on the rite of passage from the death of his mother when he is an anxious teenager to middle aged despondency. The realisation of his parents’ history and its impact on the family is a cruel lesson, but gives an understanding of the consequences of selfish actions.
There were many layers to this story and the simple but evocative descriptions of the vast country and its mix of races added to my pleasure in the reading of it.
Flesh Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma is published by Penguin Books UK (Viking) in hardback from 23 February RRP £12.99
A murder without a body
In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Jane Casey, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth…
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?
Bethany, her family and neighbours in Valerian Road are all hiding something.
The lies and intrigue make everyone a suspect but unlike some recent crime novels I have read this one has a real thread of credibility.
This is the seventh book in the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey, but my first read of her work. I cannot see this being the last as the taut writing and realistic interactions between the characters overcame my lack of enthusiasm for this genre.
Let The Dead Speak by Jane Casey is published by Harper Collins in hardback 9th March RRP 12.99