“Does bad blood run from one generation to the next?”
Alison – is in her late thirties. She lives alone and works as an art instructor in a college. Always short of funds, she strives to help her mother pay for her sister’s care home fees. To help out financially, she takes a job as an ‘artist-in-residence’ at an open prison. Alison has never really gotten over the accident that so seriously damaged her younger sister. She is very lonely and lives with secrets and guilt. She self-harms so that she will in some small way share Kitty’s pain, and as a form of penance for her part in the accident.
“… if my sister can’t enjoy life, then why should I?”
Kitty – is seven years younger than Alison and is severely brain-damaged. She is wheelchair-bound and must wear a helmet to protect her head. Her memories are sporadic, but she thinks quite clearly. However, she cannot communicate with others because her words come out all garbled. Intensely frustrated, she lashes out at those around her.
“Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters.”
Years ago, when Alison and Kitty were on their way to school, there was a tragic car accident. Though Alison was only slightly hurt, Kitty was not so lucky – and two other people lost their lives…
“For it’s the cuts we hide inside that really do the damage.”
My overriding memory of this novel will be Kitty’s frustration. How unimaginably tragic to not be able to verbalize your thoughts and wishes! That being said, Kitty was not a very likeable character despite her appalling lot in life.
The sibling ‘love-hate’ relationship was adeptly described in this novel, as were the vivid scenes that took place in the care home and the prison. The writing transported the reader to those places whether you wanted to go or not.
Also very well described was the brutally difficult life of those caring for people with special needs. The emotional and physical toll would slay me.
There were a few plot twists that will be appreciated by lovers of this genre.
Much to my shame, I’ll admit this is my first Jane Corry novel. Her six books to date have all been best-sellers and now I understand why. The author’s time spent working in a prison herself gave gravitas and knowledge to her portrayal of Alison’s time there.
In short, a compelling read with many serious themes running throughout. Highly recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin Random House) via Edelweiss.
Jane Corry is an author and journalist, and has spent time as the writer-in-residence of a high-security prison for men–an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her bestselling debut thriller, as well as her second thriller, Blood Sisters.
Jane Corry is the author of six best-selling thrillers in all. In addition to the two mentioned above, The Dead Ex, I Looked Away, I Made A Mistake, and most recently, The Lies We Tell.
Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University; an RLF Fellow at Exeter University; and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and My Weekly magazine.
She lives in Devon, England.
Follow Jane Corry on Twitter @JaneCorryAuthor