Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for my advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I’ve enjoyed Laura Elliot’s previous books, but somehow this one seemed to fall a bit short. I kept thinking that I could see where she was going with it, and what she was aiming to achieve, but then it just didn’t deliver what I was expecting. It’s a pity because all the ingredients are there for a really powerful story: characters you can identify with, a villain who you want to see brought to justice, heartaches and triumphs, and weaving it all together, the author’s skilful writing that is still very much in evidence, even though she doesn’t wrap it all up with the punch I very much wanted to see!
Beth McKeever is worn down by the cards that life has dealt her. A difficult childhood (I never really understood the favouritism her mother had for her sister over her), despite always trying to do the right thing, which extends into adulthood. Beth never seems to catch a break and never manages to attain real happiness despite marriage and 4 children. Her mother Marjory remains a misery throughout, determined to thrive on bitterness and refusing to see what’s right under her nose. Her brother Albert is her shining light, always there to help out in times of trouble and need and she depends on him for support. And support her he does when her husband, father of her two daughters, ups and leaves, tired of her endless harping. It’s a choice that is to have catastrophic consequences.
And these are the themes that are carried through the book: bitterness, favouritism, negativity and unhappiness. Quite honestly, I found that they put a bit of a dark cloud over me as I continued to read.
By about three quarters of the way in, I started to find that I was losing track of the characters. There seemed to be a lot of names and people that I couldn’t quite place and who didn’t seem altogether necessary to the story and I started to skim a bit. I did want to get to the end, and despite my criticism, the thread of the story is maintained throughout – it never loses itself.
So, I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 stars. It just wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Laura Elliot’s books as it’s a lot weaker than its predecessors. Nevertheless, it still carries a sound message.
PS: I don’t understand the title of the book either, but I really don’t want to sound like I’m being entirely negative!