Length: 320 pages
Note: The cover image leads to a universal buy link for the book on Amazon
What they say: From the award-winning author of the No 1 bestseller, Unravelling Oliver ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’ Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …
The Review: I had read Unravelling Oliver some time ago, as I had seen it nominated for The Bord Gais Book Awards, which generally drive a lot of my reading choices around this time of the year, and was pretty much as blown away as everyone else I knew (go read!). In relation to this book, if you go onto Amazon you’ll note that at the forefront is line upon line of gushing by writers and personalities who have claimed this as one of the books of the year. Since it surfaced, I have been hearing claims to this effect and, I have to admit, it is one of the problems with constantly reading reviews and being in social media book clubs, that constant calls of ‘this is the best book I’ve ever read, ever’ sometimes have you backing off, either totally, or for just enough time that you can form your own opinions (I’m the same with music, months after a song has been out I’ll start to hum it, then sing it, and tell everyone around me what a great song it is, much to their irritation!) Anyhoo, back to the point, and my point is, I’m so glad I did jump back to this book. Again, Ms. Nugent has created a book that draws you in, in such a way that this book can only be read in one sitting (or two, if your kids subconsciously decide you should be dealing with them instead;) The multiple point of views are excellent, as we begin with that line that is now infamous in blogging circles
“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.”
and continue along a path with three people, one, a person who is willing to do everything she needs to, to get what she wants, no matter how sordid or how much she hurts those around her, the second an unwitting bystander, who does not know of the past of the people around him, and who has grabbed onto a sticky truth, to try to pull himself through a life that isn’t as easy as it should be, and thirdly, a girl, who has a belief, a belief that the sister she is searching for is alive and that she will find her. The pure grubbiness and shock factor of this book is nicely balanced by this third person’s search, with simple yet magnificent Irish storytelling showing us the everyday life of a girl who wanted something a little bit better than what was expected of her, but without losing sight of who she was.
It’s funny, that out of this book, as well as with Oliver, the one thing that jumped out at me was how peoples’ childhoods shape their life. One event invariably led to the ostracizing of a child, which led to cruelty and hurt for a myriad of other people and afterwards you find yourself with an armful of ‘if onlys’ for the characters in the story.
The ending, as you would expect, had the dial set to ‘shock.’
All in all, a great book, though one to be read without all the hype and fanfare that surrounds it, just a dark, twisted, well told book that I really enjoyed and popped in and out of my thoughts afterwards. Cannot wait for Ms Nugent’s next book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Penguin Ireland for this book in return for an honest review.