A quick and interesting read, this story has the feel of a longish short-story – a fable of sorts – telling the tale of a complicated family, steeped in love, sacrifice, loss and ultimately redemption, but of a form as unexpected as it is long and exceptionally overdue.
Told in both a past and a present voice, and set in and around London, England, Alice Parker, our main protagonist, slowly reveals the events leading up to, then following, her incarceration and eventual release from prison after serving time for a terrible crime.
As we come to know present-day Alice – seemingly a kind, gentle, compassionate woman – it’s hard for the reader to make sense of what has befallen her. Equally puzzling are the dynamics coming to light in her voice-of-the past, concerning her family and centering on the mysterious and troubling behavior of her father.
As sweet-tempered Alice and her outgoing and beautiful sister, Beth, struggle, in each of their own ways, to cope with the drama that becomes their family life, it is clear that the reader has some work to do if this story’s final twists and turns are to be predicted.
Well-executed, and satisfying in its conclusion, I enjoyed this book, its characters representing and facing dilemmas embedded in family, and long-learned behavior patterns – each of which could be read (as this reader chooses) metaphorically.
Sacrifice, Entitlement, Protection, and Responsibility.
Reminding us all, somewhat tragically, that patterns laid down boundlessly in childhood may fail us catastrophically as adults, – if and when they are executed without discernment.
A great big thank you to #Netgalley, the author @ElisabethKrauel and the publisher @BrownDogBooks for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.