Nuclear bomb hitting the nuclear family: The Betrayals
The anxiety is like a fire inside, burning the little oxygen I have left in my lungs. Even though I can hear mum whistling the theme tune to The Archers on the floor below, I am convinced something awful is going to happen to her. I think of the drawer of kitchen knives and how easy it would be for a burglar to stab her with one. It’s the same old obsession from years ago. I must lack originality.
I really enjoyed reading The Betrayals by Fiona Neill. This is the story of a dysfunctional family told by family members each one expressing their own version of events.
The successful oncologist Rosie and ex-lawyer, new yoga instructor Lisa were best friends until Lisa and Rosie’s husband Nick have an affair. Nick and Rosie’s daughter Daisy and their son Max got wrecked by this bombshell of news. At all costs, Nick and Lisa leave their families and move in together. After years of not seeing each other, Lisa reaches out by sending a letter to Rosie. And the story starts unfolding.
This book is not your usual thriller. It has heavy themes like cancer, psychological disorders, adultery, how children perceive their parents’ separation… There are some surprises but no great mystery or twist to be revealed in the story really. But it still grips you and is beautifully written, cleverly designed so you are given the chance to observe what each character thinks, how they see themselves and each other, how they were effected by the troubles of the past, memories.
The main character in the book felt like Daisy, then Max, followed by Rosie and Nick. I can’t say the characters are likeable, Rosie is portrayed quite neutral, my feelings towards Max swinged between empathy and irritation, Nick to me was a selfish arsehole. I felt pity towards Daisy, but probably because of her condition. I really liked the way all the characters are developed.
On some reviews people mentioned they found the end very weak, but I disagree. I think there was a lot of hints about what’s going to happen in the end. I would also have loved to read Lisa’s version of events – but I understand that the book is about the nuclear family, which has been torn about by adultery and the aftermath of everything happened to them.
So a bold 4 starts out of 5 from me.
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scores by the time this review is written.