Mia Botha and Blair Scheepers
by Liza Klaussmann (Picador) ISBN 978-1-4472-1205-8
This is the part of the review where I should be telling you what the book is about. Not as easy as you would think with this one. Not only does she use five viewpoints, the book suffers from a serious case of genre confusion as well.
Nick and Helena are cousins. Nick is married to Hugh and they have a daughter, Daisy. Helena’s son is Ed and she is married to a shady, obsessed Hollywood wannabe. It starts off as a study of oppressed housewives, jumps to the children finding a body, then Hugh has an epiphany, after which Helena and Ed delighted me with their dark jealousies and sick minds and saved the book and the ending with delightful shiver down the spine.
To elaborate more would give too much away so forgive my ambiguity. I loved the settings. I too want a house with a name and a matching boat and party bunting and cocktail hour. The dialogue is engaging and effortless. The different viewpoints are fun, but reminded me more of a creative writing exercise in characterisation than of a story.
The slow start also almost had me putting the book down. Full marks for gin in jam jars though and just for that I’ll upgrade it from a 2.5 to 3/5.
This is an excellent read. The main character, Nick, is a restless woman. She says she loves her cousin, Helena but the author shows you very cleverly how she demoralises her.
This book reveals the epitome of East Coast glamour in the 1930s and 1940s. It is the era of martinis and cigarettes and spoiled women with their pampered children. And how well the author combines sexiness with loving motherhood.
Tiger House is where it all happens. World War 11 is just ending and Nick expects her husband home at last. Meanwhile her cousin, Helena finds married bliss, sort of, in Hollywood.
Ed is Helena’s grown son. He is a totally ghastly character. Daisy, Nick’s daughter, is interested in tennis and carries an air of innocence with her. This makes her friendship with Ed terrifying. Who knows what he’ll do to her.
I couldn’t put this book down. The author tells of family feuds so well and her characters are very real. I recommend this book strongly if you enjoy a good read.
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