Saturday 23 March 2019

Review ~ Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick

Rupa Publications

My thanks to Ben at Cameron  Publicity and Marketing for my copy of this book

Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's thirteenth birthday and is looking forward to being with his family, when his world is cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially he thinks he can cope with the loss, but finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist, to regain his equipoise. What he does not know is that Cynthia herself is trying to cope with a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband over her daughter...

What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat? Moreover, when they are rowing in opposite directions--one clinging to the past, and the other unable to get rid of it! In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia's daughter, who harbours a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

My thoughts..

Sam is grieving for the catastrophic loss of his family, whilst Cynthia is trying desperately to juggle family life with her teenage daughter, Lily, and at the same time trying to cope with the aftermath of a painful separation from her abusive husband. On the surface these two characters have little in common, only coming together initially when Sam attends clinical appointments with Cynthia in her role as his  therapist.

When then follows is an interesting study in the way that trauma affects people, not just in their daily life but also in the long term effects on mental health and well being. The story builds slowly and the author does a great job in allowing the characters enough time to develop slowly, never rushing the action, and always with a considered response to what makes people, under pressure, act in the way that they do.

The author has an interesting writing style which took me a little while to get used to, but once I had the characters' individual characteristics firmly in mind the story became much more interesting. The action is rather slow which I think is quite deliberate, as this isn't an all action story, but is rather more a reflective piece about coping with psychological stress and the subsequent mental health issues which may arise from dealing with some quite dark and complex issues. There's also an interesting suspenseful element to the story which becomes more apparent as the story progresses.

Dark Blossom took me by surprise, as I wasn't sure what to expect, but drawn in by the rather interesting book cover I found the story to be both clever and complex with an interesting twist.

With degrees in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, USA, and Business Administration from INSEAD, France, NEEL MULLICK is the Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company.

He mentors women entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially-aware leaders with the Steering for Greatness Foundation (Nigeria), supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers at Emprendedoras del Hogar (Peru), and is helping IIMPACT (India) break the cycle of illiteracy plaguing young girls from socially and economically impoverished communities.

He lives on three continents, dividing his time between between New York, Brussels, and New Delhi.

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