|Allen & Unwin|
Can you ever forgive the unforgivable?
The anguish of a family ripped apart by a devastating tragedy is the theme which runs throughout this well written family saga. When Joseph Scott is released on licence from prison after serving his sentence for the manslaughter of his wife, he attempts to make some sort of life for himself, but his burden of culpability is never far from the surface and the increasing animosity of his family, particularly his in-laws does nothing to dispel either his guilt or his grief.
I was captivated by this book from the beginning and although I wanted to dislike Joseph, after all he was the perpetrator of a heinous crime; I found great sympathy for him and credit to the author for making him a sympathetic figure rather than a caricature of a murderous villain. She completely captured the anguish of a family in turmoil and with great insight delved deep into the minds of Joseph's children, who whilst struggling to come to terms with the loss of their mother, felt incredibly torn between love and duty to a father they barely understood.
There is no doubt that the author has a great skill for storytelling and has managed to convey the heartbreak of tragedy whilst at the same time keeping control of a narrative which is a powerful testament to the bonds of parenthood. The need we all have to protect those we love, even when there is the danger that by loving too much we are in danger of destroying those we seek to love, is perhaps the most the constant thought throughout the whole of the book.
My thanks to Lindsay at the Little Reader Library for her generous gift of this book.