In this bold and darkly compelling contemporary novel set in England, author Ann Bailey creates a cast of characters immersed in self-absorption and duplicity, whose lives are lived selfishly and for no discernible higher purpose.
Emily Nielson, the book’s lynchpin, is an unhappily married middle-aged housewife who loves her husband Jack more than he loves her. In fact, he likes getting away from her for long periods of time. She seeks her comfort elsewhere, falling in love too easily and too often.
This is Emily’s second marriage, her first having ended in divorce. Decades before, when Emily was married to Guy, the pair lived in Singapore, and it was there that she had a cup of tea with a neighbor, an old woman, who told her a fantastic love story about the previous inhabitants of Emily’s home. Emily could not have known how that poignant love story would unravel right before her eyes in present day circumstances. Jack, her best friends and an old lover all shared a history together that Emily never knew anything about until a young man appears questioning his paternity.
There are a number of themes that emerge in this very well written novel. One seems to be that the unrepented sins of the father, or mother, are indeed the curse of a generation. The other question raised is whether anyone can truly be trusted, or do most people purport to trust those closest to them while, in fact, turning away from the hurtful truth?
Readers will travel a grim and bleak emotional landscape with no points of light to guide the way. Once begun, however, this book is impossible to put down.
Also available as an ebook.