A love story full of angst, heartbreak and missed opportunities, this is a romance that stretches out over 10 years. A story very much in 2 halves. In the first a self destructive and self-abusive rich kid and a girl from the wrong side of the wrong side of the tracks find a bond that forms a lifetime connection. In the second 2 women with complex lives and relationships reconnect over and over again, but never seem to both be in the right time and place.
Susan Meagher is a great storyteller, she creates meaningful plots, strong characters and deep emotions. She deals with complex situations and real life issues with care and attention.
The first half of this book was not an easy read for me. I appreciated the intent, and the way in which the author deals with such a difficult subject, but it was too long, too drawn out, too much angst. The goody is just too good and her denial too prolonged, I couldn’t bring myself to like her. The point of the first section, as well as defining the characters and history, dealing with the impact alcoholism on the individual and their children, is to set the scene for the deep-seated love these women share.
This leads us to a more traditional romance, where we see both women long for something they think they’ve lost the chance of, and as each one reaches for it the other seems to have just moved away. The denouement is everything we expect… except the author fades to black, ending the novel without giving us the expected thrill, an unusual move from an author who is not normally shy of explicit sex scenes.
For me the second half of the novel was just intriguing enough to overcome my frustration of the scene setting, but only just. I struggled to get through that first section without giving up, and that is the first time I have ever had to force myself to read on in one of Susan Meagher’s books.
This story will speak to many women out there who have struggled with their own addictions, or those of their loved ones, especially a parent or child. It is extremely well done, and like a great tragedy from a classic author, it takes work from the reader. Not a light read or a gentle romance, but worth the effort.
(publisher review copy received)
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