Originally published: 21 March 2019
Author: S D Robertson
Published by: Avon
Page count: 368
Reading dates: 2-5 April 2019
Hannah’s life is pretty much perfect – she is just about to publish her first book, she is happily married to Mark and they life in a beautiful apartment in Manchester, enjoying their child-free existence.
The only sadness in her life is her ongoing feud with her sister Diane, whom she hasn’t spoken to for 10 years after a huge argument just after their mum died. But as the book starts, Diane is back on Hannah’s doorstep unexpectedly, with her 14 year old daughter Mia in tow.
Mark and Hannah assume Diane is down on her luck and wants money from them but what is actually wants is for them to look after Mia for her while she has to sort some stuff out. After a few awkward days while Mia settles it, Hannah is thrilled to be able to bond with her niece again, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a toddler.
Diane is carrying a devastating secret that will destroy Hannah’s carefully constructed life. But how much is she willing to reveal and when will she pick her moment?
Just a quick heads up, there is a suicide right at the beginning of the book and this is upsetting to read but I think the author gets into the head well of the person in question to understand why they might take such a step.
Mia seems like a lovely girl – she isn’t sure about being left with her Aunt and Uncle to begin with. She actually gets on better with Mark than Hannah. Her typical teenage habits get on Hannah’s nerves (towels on the floor, messy bedroom etc) but they soon bond over their love of books and reading. We learn Hannah has had a breakdown in the past (linked to her mother’s death) and she still sees a therapist.
Unfortunately I didn’t like Diane at all. She isn’t a very sympathetic character and I’m not sure I warm to her at any point or actually have much compassion with the choices she makes. I was surprised to find out S D Robertson is a man as I think this genre of books are usually written by women. Without wanting to sound patronising, I think he did a really good job with all the characters voices.
The relationship between sisters is the main crux of the story. As the saying goes, “We can’t choose our family” and the book looks at the problems different personalities bring, how parents feel and treat their children, and resentments and rivalry between siblings.
I enjoyed this book – it is very realistic and readable and if you enjoy books about family relationships with secrets thrown in then I think you will enjoy this.
Thank you to Sabah over at Avon Books for my copy as part of the blog tour. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour below.
About the author:
Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist.
An English graduate from the University of Manchester, he’s also worked as a holiday rep, door-to-door salesman, train cleaner, kitchen porter and mobile phone network engineer.
Stuart lives in a village in North West England with his wife and daughter.
I loved the book too. Fab review
Thank you Shalini x
Thanks for the heads up on the suicide at the beginning! With a book like this, you expect something, but maybe not so early on as you try to work through what’s about to happen. I have been trying to mix in some suspense/thriller type books and with the family dynamic being a bit uncertain because of things in the past with the sisters, I’m curious about what happens and how it all turns out