Nine-year-old Ben's the first to realize that the reasons for the relocation don't quite add up; that the narrative of their family life is constantly being rewritten.
But why? Just what is everyone hiding?
What is the cataclysmic secret that his mother, Ailsa, harbours from her past?
Who is her devoted husband, Harry, receiving anonymous text messages from?
Why have their gifted daughter Romy's A-level grades plummeted overnight?
And once the truths come out, can the Fields ever go back to how they were?"
Before | My choice this month, and after throwing this out there as a suggestion it seemed like a book we were all keen to read. It sounds like a family thriller-y type story (which I know Lizzie always enjoys!) and I'm anticipating it'll be something along the lines of The Husband's Secret.
During | This book took me a long time to get into, and if it weren't for the fact it was a bookclub book, I think I would have resigned it to my 'did not finish' pile. In the first chapter the big secret is revealed, and the rest of the book works as a build up to how it came to happen. I found it odd that there's almost a big cover up with the writing - in that very first chapter the author builds suspense about a fact that's visible from the blurb (trying not to give too much away....you'll know what I mean if you read it!) and whilst it would be a clever twist normally, the fact that I'd literally just read the back of the book gave the game away and made it all seem pointless. It's an interesting, up to date concept though - social media, children's exposure to online pornography, revenge porn.....it's all very relevant and helped make the book more compelling.
After | I soon became hooked on the book and wanted to read more and more. The book is told from Romy's first person narrative alongside Ailsa's (third person) perspective. I'm a little torn on how I actually feel about the nitty gritty of the plotline. There's a lot going on, and whilst it helps to build up a picture of Romy's thoughts and motives, it made the book feel a little too long and now that I sit back and reflect on it quite a bit seems irrelevant. There's a lot of scientific detail in here which was interesting but overall just extra to read and at some points I was reading without really taking much of it in. I'd go as far as to say that, whilst I enjoyed the book, the blurb was extremely misleading. It wasn't a thriller, the 'cataclysmic secret' (when exposed) isn't really discussed in terms of its impact on the family and Harry isn't 'receiving' text messages (anymore). If anything, I'd say this book could be part of a series focusing on each of these threads of the story and how they link with each other, but put in one book it felt messy and a little off topic at points. Still very enjoyable though! One of my favourites we've read so far, possibly because of its pertinence to society at the moment.