I’ve been hearing about Angela Marsons frequently via reviews written by my fellow bookbloggers so I thought it was high time I gave her novels a try. The author is renown for her psychological crime thrillers and I assumed this was one of those when I requested the novel from NetGalley – solely on the basis of her reputation. Low and behold this is NOT a thriller, but I thoroughly enjoyed it just the same. Perhaps I shouldn’t say enjoyed. The subject matter was so dire and disturbing that to say I enjoyed it would make me sound rather sadistic.
This is a well rendered, acutely observed portrayal of the lingering consequences on three sisters of a childhood filled with both physical and emotional abuse. The book begins when the perpetrator of the abuse dies, bringing the three estranged sisters together after many years of little or no contact.
Catherine, the eldest sister, is married to a man she dearly loves and is the mother to twin daughters. She has a time-consuming, high-pressure career. The abuse she and her sisters experienced growing up has marred her psyche indelibly. She never really bonded with her little daughters and is afraid that she doesn’t know how to love them. She is riddled with guilt for abandoning her sisters when she left home. Her childhood memories impact every aspect of her life. When her life implodes, she seeks psychiatric therapy.
Alex, the youngest daughter is an alcoholic whose life is spiraling out of control. Her first thought when she heard of her mother’s death?
“Thank God the bitch is dead”
Alex believes herself to be unworthy of affection so she sabotaged her relationship with the love of her life. Now she lives alone. She hits ‘rock bottom’ when her drinking results in the loss of her job and all of her friends. She alienates those she loves with her brazen bitterness.
Beth, the middle daughter, has stayed in the home with the mother right up until the mother’s death. Beth never married, or, it would seem, even had any relationships. Her memories are completely repressed. She seems completely in denial as to the trauma inflicted upon her in her childhood. She was the most physically damaged as a result of the abuse, yet she stayed to nurse her mother after her mother’s stroke.
The ‘mother’ in this novel is incredibly evil. One wonders what HER childhood was like. The three sisters are reunited after their mother’s death. The reunion sparks change in all of their lives. The book explores the far-reaching damage that can be inflicted by parents upon their children. It is very difficult to read at times, but the realistic ending will leave the reader feeling satisfied.
I guess I’d categorize this book as women’s fiction, but it somehow seems more… yet it is not of literary fiction calibre. I’d like to give the author’s crime thrillers a try as well because I enjoyed her writing style.
My thanks to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this novel for reading and reviewing purposes.
Angela Marsons has always loved to write. In her late forties, she has now given up her job of 19 years as a Security Guard at a shopping centre to focus fully on her writing, and labels it as a ‘dream come true‘.
After many, many submissions she signed an 8 book deal with Bookouture as their first crime author.
She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot.