Thank You very much to publisher Randon House UK/ Ebury Publishing for the review copy.
Genre: Mystery / Women’s Fiction
Release date: 10 08 2017
Price*:£4.99 (GBP)/ $6.90 (USD)
Pages: ~ 352
My rating: 7/10
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What I learned from this book: Once a cheater, always a cheater.
Description of the book: When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.
His mother is exhausted. His father is angry. His older sister is resentful. And they all have something to hide.
How this book made me feel: This is one of those books which left me confused, whether I liked it or not. I read the name of this book and the blurb, and was ready for some great mystery, maybe some horror; unfortunately, I did not get any of it… What I got, was incredibly strong and interesting characters.
The narrative of this book was told by Sally, Richard and Martha. They are a family; Richard married Sally after having an affair with her, and they took in Martha – Richard’s daughter from first marriage. After night out, Sally is woken up by her husband and whimpering ten month old Oliver, who’s hand has been broken. And that’s where this family’s drama begins. Oliver is taken away by social services and this family has to prove that they didn’t (or did?) break his arm. As the pages are turned, the book unfolds some unexpected discoveries, which changes the events in this book.
I think that the base of this book, which kept me going, was the characters. Their thoughts, which were expressed in this book, are so intriguing and too realistic. I loved the way Sally was telling her story as mistress, and how she seduced Richard. I really enjoyed Richard’s perspective in this book. He is very straight forward man, and I enjoyed reading his amusing thoughts in this book. Martha is a teenage spirit in this novel, sharing her story as a child, who is trying to adjust in her new family, and what difficulties she is facing. Even though, Oliver shows up very rarely in this book, the whole story mainly spins around Oliver and all the motherly/ fatherly love for him. Sally and Richard describe how their lives were going on before Oliver was born, and what happened to their relationship after the birth.
I wasn’t very impressed with narrative of this book, I think it kind of plodded along with few twists, and the main reason I kept reading was, the wish to find out who actually broke Oliver’s arm. Joanna Barnard discussed some serious topics in this novel, such as: what parents have to go through, when they are accused of child abuse; reasons for eating disorders and self harm; relationship problems.
The writing style of this book was very addictive, the pages just turn themselves, and I finished this book quite quickly. I think that was influenced by short chapters, easy language, and very absorbing characters. There is plenty of motherly love in this book, which made me roll my eyes, as I am not very big fan when it gets repeated over and over again. The ending of this book rounded up the story nicely, giving well deserved conclusion to this book. So to conclude, it is a family drama with very strong, diverse and realistic characters, filled with parental love and difficult relationships. If you are into these kinds of things, give this book a try and I hope you will enjoy.
About the Author: Joanna Barnard works as a counsellor. In 2014, she won the inaugural Bath Novel Award. A Northerner currently exiled in the South of England, Joanna misses flat vowels, friendly bus drivers and chips and gravy. She is the author of Precocious and Hush Little Baby.
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com at current date. Price might change at your time of purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.