Thursday 1 December 2016

Review ~ Cousins by Salley Vickers

Viking Penguin

The book blurb..

Brilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Each member of the family holds some clue to the chain of events which may have led to the accident and each holds themselves to blame. Most closely affected is Will's cousin Cecelia, whose affinity with Will leaves her most vulnerable to his suffering and whose own life is for ever changed by how she will respond to it.

Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, his sister, his grandmother and his aunt, Cousins is a novel weaving darkness and light which takes us from the outbreak of World War Two to the present day, exploring the recurrence of tragedy, the nature of transgression, and the limits of morality and love.

My thoughts...

When student, Will Tye suffers a devastating accident, not only does it shock his family but it also reopens old secrets which have been allowed to linger for far too long in the shadows.

In Cousins, the author, Salley Vickers lays bare the very fabric of family life, in a story which evolves through the narration of Will's grandmother, his sister and his aunt, namely, the three women who are closest to him and who each have a part to play in the eventual outcome of the story. The three narrators are very different people and this comes across in their individual stories and yet, their stories coalesce and intertwine to form a cohesive portrayal of a family which has been shattered into a million pieces.

What I enjoyed about Cousins was the way the story was allowed to evolve at entirely its own pace. It seems, on the surface, to be a rather slow and thoughtful story, and yet, it is no less powerful because of that, rather it demonstrates just how good the author is at getting right into the heart of what matters. The secrets at the centre of the story are perceptively written and the author writes beautifully about thoughts and feelings, and also, of the insecurities which can, so often, blight a generation. 

Ultimately, Cousins is a story about the delicate intricacies of familial relationships. It’s about the devastating consequences of love and sacrifice and of the dangerous risks that families will take in order to protect each other from the pain of heartbreak. 

Best Read With ...a glass of bitter shandy , heavy on the lemonade...

Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool, the home of her mother, and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge.Her first novel, ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’, became an international word-of-mouth bestseller. She now writes full time and lectures widely on many subjects, particularly the connections between, art, literature, psychology and religion.

Salley Vickers  

Twitter @SalleyVickers

My thanks to Josie at Penguin Viking for the opportunity to read and review this novel

**While it's Christmas -  I'm giving away my read "only once" Hardback copy**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Good Luck ***


  1. Hi! I'm Lorna from The Writing Greyhound. This looks like a fab read!

    1. Hi Lorna, welcome to Jaffareadstoo. Lovely to see you. Best of luck ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Hello Jo, it's me Anne! I love the sound of this one xx

    1. Hi Anne, lovely to see you. Thanks for entering the giveaway. Good luck ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Great review, thank you. The author really captures those bonds between family members and puts an "issue" right at the heart of this family, with a big secret!

    1. Thanks TripFiction! Good to see you, best of luck๐Ÿ˜€


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