Reviewed by Victoria Sutton
This book should come with the warning ‘Do not read in public!’ I started it on the train one morning and within the first couple of pages there were tears running down my cheeks – not a good look in a packed carriage! That wasn’t the only time I found myself attempting to hold back the tears in public either, and I probably should have saved it for reading in the privacy of my own home, but I couldn’t help myself. After those first couple of pages I was completely hooked…
Sophie is a normal, happy 18 year old looking forward to the summer holidays and starting college in the autumn. But when, completely by chance, she sees a TV interview with a successful Irish artist, her whole world as she knows it is shaken to the core and it is unlikely things will ever be the same again.
Anna is Sophie’s mother, a headmistress in London who has devoted her life to giving Sophie the perfect childhood. She appears to be the perfect parent, but she has a hidden past, full of pain and heartache, and a secret that could ruin everything she has worked so hard for.
Laura, meanwhile, is a successful artist with a tragic past. She is consumed with regret since the loss of her first child, Jody. Although she is a wonderful mother to her 16 year old daughter, Mandy, her past has made her especially overprotective, which the teenage Mandy feels suffocated by.
The big secret is revealed very early on in the novel and is what had me instantly gripped. It doesn’t matter that the reveal comes so early as it is not the secret itself that drives the story, but the way in which those involved deal with it. In the early part of the novel, I found Anna’s situation utterly heart-breaking while finding it very difficult to feel any sort of sympathy for the young Laura. In the latter stages, this is almost reversed as Moriarty had me sympathising with Laura in a way I would never have imagined earlier.
This was a read that had me on the edge of my seat desperate to find out what would happen next and, to that end, I read it quickly. As a mother of two young girls it moved me greatly as the mascara trails down my cheeks this past week are testament to! If you like a good cry, a bit of a mystery and a few laughs then you should definitely read this book – but don’t forget the warning!
Sinead Moriarty's Website