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I read this author's other adult fiction book some time ago now and even though it was a bit different to the usual genre I read, I did enjoy it and so when I was out with my mum and I saw this book for a good price, I thought it would be rude not to try it! I made a start on it as soon as I finished the book I was then already reading and this is what I thought.
Sara Shepard is an American author who has written three young adult fiction books and two adult fiction books which includes this one.
Recently widowed Sylvie Bates McAllister has worked hard to maintain the good life she inherited; the grand old family house, heritage and reputation and she works on the board for the prestigious private school her grandfather found. However when a late night phone call comes in to bring news of something that has happened at the school, it seems her perfect ordered world could come crashing down. It doesn't help that the trouble seems to be connected to her adopted son Scott but, it isn't as easy to talk to him and years of making assumptions about everything and not having things go as planned, start to show how life doesn't always turn out the way you plan.
Sylvie is really our main character and what I found was that I felt the author wanted the reader to feel she was quite stuffy and old fashioned which is exactly how she came across. She really struggles to talk to her son Scott for almost a fear of how he will react and also because she feels like she cannot express what she wants or needs to say. In complete difference, her other son Charles, she is able to talk to and treat as you would expect a mother and son to be. I found this really set the tone for the book in how Sylvie was.
I would say Sylvie's daughter in Law, Joanna is another main character as, I felt it was important to see the family in the eyes of somebody who is technically an outsider, but, having married Charles, still feels excluded. She especially doesn't know how connect with her own husband and certainly not in in anyway related to the situation with his brother. I liked that Joanna was written as a person who has the same insecurities as a lot of people and found it interesting that the author made the relationships this way considering Charles and Joanna are newlyweds and really should be at the stage of still being loving together but, actually are already struggling it seems in their relationship.
The author has created the brothers to be very different indeed. One, Charles, conforms to the role of perfect son and has a good relationship with his mother. The other, seems intent on doing as he pleases and struggle to connect to his mother. I liked that the author decided to write the book this way as it made it more interesting. I am not sure if maybe it was the obvious thing to do, especially as Scott is the adopted son but, it did certainly make the book more intriguing.
I bought this book as part of a two book offer which was £5 for two books making it just £2.50. I feel this is a very good price indeed for a brand new book and considering the RRP is £6.99, I certainly did get a very good deal.
I did enjoy this book and I found I wanted to know what was going to happen and this meant I was drawn back to the book very quickly and therefore finished the book fairly quickly. I felt the characters were interesting and even though I didn't feel I actually liked any of them very much, I still enjoyed the book enough. I have found with both this book and her other book; they are both of deep subjects and are definitely not the hearts and flowers kind of read and certainly not the usual romance chick lit books. Even really the cover doesn't make it look a very happy book I suppose as it is a birdcage with the bird sat on the outside and a heart locked away inside. This very cleverly depicts the feelings of many people in this book I would say as feelings and emotions are well and truly locked away.
Overall I did enjoy the book. I probably wouldn't say it would be very appealing to many and it certainly isn't as good as some books to choose from but, I would give it a good 3 stars. It just misses 4 stars because for me, I felt it was a short book at only 328 pages long. However I would say give it a go and see what you think.