Back of the book :
What happens when the person closest to you has led a life of deception?
After the funeral of her mother, Sally, Alice Kent is approached by a man named Angus Tweedy. He claims to be her father and tells her that he served time in prison for marrying Sally bigamously.
What does he hope to gain by telling her this now, thirty years on?
How can her adored dad Ralph not be her true father?
And why did her mother betray her so badly?
She had accepted Sally’s many faults, and her reluctance to ever speak of the past. But faced with this staggering deception, Alice knows she must uncover the whole truth about her mother.
What I think :
Whilst at the funeral of her mother Sally, Alice is approached by a man called Angus Tweedy. He claims to be her biological father. He also tells her that he hasn’t been in her life because he’s been in prison, the reason being that he married her mother when he was married to someone else, he was prosecuted and sent to prison. He’s a bigamist.
Its been thirty years so why now when her mother is no longer here to tell her if this is the truth ?Also what about her lovely ‘Dad’ Ralph ? Where does he fit into all of this, has he been lying to her all her life as well ?
Alice feels betrayed.
She decides she must learn the truth …
Told over dual timelines with Alice as she tries to unpick the lies and secrets to work out the truth and with her mum Sally’s ( N.B : Sally changes her names a couple of times over the course of the book) early life.
This is a story of hard times but also survival. As always Lesley’s books always depict some really hard subjects. This time its rape. With excellent characters and storylines that make Lesley’s books as brilliant as they are, this is a tale that keeps you reading well into the night.
I’m always very excited to be asked to review Lesley’s books and can’t believe that this is her thirtieth !!! I mean Wow !!
I love all the little twists and turns that make up these wonderful plot lines.
As always, I give this book a well deserved 10/10 (5 Stars)
Published by Penguin Michael Joseph on 07/07/22.
The biggest Thank you to Courtney Jefferies at Penguin for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Also for your reading pleasure is a extract of the book 🙂
The service was sad, but at the same time uplifting. Some of Sally’s friends had decorated the church with an abundance of flowers, and it looked so pretty with sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows. Each of the pew ends had a posy of spring flowers pinned to it, more like a wedding than a funeral.
The Reverend Henry Dawes had known Sally well and managed to bring a little humour into his eulogy by speaking of Sally’s enthusiasm for jumble sales. He reminded them of when she’d put on an old lady’s pink corset over her clothes, and a fancy but battered hat, then kept them on for the whole day.
Sally had chosen a poem to be read, and asked that Mike read it as she knew that neither Ralph, nor Alice nor Emily would get through it without crying.
Weep not for me though I have gone.
Grieve if you will, but not for long.
It was typical of their mother that she wanted them to celebrate her life rather than mourn. In fact in the past she’d often joked that she wanted Queen’s ‘Killer Queen’ played at her funeral. They’d laughed with her about it, but once they were planning the service it didn’t seem right.
Alice glanced sideways at her father several times, but though his lower lip quivered, he was holding it together, as was Emily. The interment would be the testing time. Alice didn’t like the idea of burials, but her mother had been saying for years that that was what she wanted, so it had to be done. Alice and Emily had dressed her themselves in the coral-coloured kaftan Sally had loved, and fixed two glittery hair slides in her platinum blonde wig. Both daughters had wanted to keep her wig, but they knew that Sally would have been furious if they didn’t put it on her, with full makeup and nail varnish that matched the kaftan. As she would have said, ‘One has to keep up standards.’
She had looked beautiful in her simple white coffin but, then, she’d been a beauty as a young woman. Even age and cancer couldn’t destroy that.
The interment was more painful than the service. Alice was all too aware of the horror on the grandchildren’s faces when they saw the deep hole in the ground and realized that was where their beloved granny was bound.
For Alice it was the finality that was shocking. She’d never hear her mum’s pealing laugh again, never feel the warmth of her hugs. They hadn’t seen eye to eye very often ‒ in fact they’d had some terrible rows ‒ but they had loved one another.
It was only once the roses had been dropped into the grave, the last prayer said and people had started to move away that Alice noticed the tall, thin man with a deep tan. She knew instinctively he was the driver of the Jaguar earlier, although she’d only seen him in her rear-view mirror