Author: Deborah Stone
Format: Paperback 303 pages
Release Date: 28 October 2018
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
My Rating: ****
I would like to thank the publisher and Love Books Group Tours for the copy of this book they provided me for review and for inviting me to join this blog tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.
Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.
As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.
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This book switches from being told mainly from Sasha and her mother Annie’s viewpoints. Around half the book is spent describing the past lives of these two characters and I found it to be a brilliant way of telling the story of these characters and describing how the past has shaped their present day lives.
We learn fairly early on that this family has some skeletons in the closet and each time we delve into the past not only are the characters background stories developed, but we begin to gather some more puzzle pieces into the mystery that is this family’s hidden secrets.
I thought Sasha was a great character, one that I think every woman can relate to on some level. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, her son is going through the awkward teenage years, and she has a distant husband who seems to spend more time working away than at home spending time with his family. Sasha seems to have no close friends to talk to and unburden her problems and I got a real sense of a woman suffering from isolation.
Annie, Sasha’s mother, I found a fascinating character. I had such conflicting emotions when reading about her life. Sometimes i’d feel sympathy towards her as she’s clearly had a tough life and her debilitating health and memory in the present made me feel sorry for her and what she is going through. Other times, i’d feel so angry at her for alienating her daughter as she was growing up and her alcoholism which clearly did not create the ideal childhood for Sasha. By the end though all is revealed and I had nothing but compassion for Annie.
This really is a book about family secrets and the ripple effect they can create when kept over a lifetime. I can’t help but wonder that if the family had been more approachable and honest with each other that they could have saved themselves a lot of heartache and bonded together in healthier ways. But then hindsight is a wonderful thing I suppose and it’s far easier to look back after the fact and say you would have done things differently.
The best thing for me about this book is the characters, without a doubt. They are all so relatable and developed in such a well written way throughout the book. With the undercurrent of wanting to find out what the big family secret is it really made for a compelling read. Highly recommend.
About the Author
Deborah Stone read English Literature at Durham University. She lives in North London with her husband, two sons and her dog.
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