I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but on the advice of a good friend I bought some tissues, and I'm so glad I did!
The story follows Alicia and her two children, Nathan and Darcie. They have moved to Alicia's childhood home after the death of her husband, to try and heal Alicia's relationship with her brother. The start of the book is very sad, with both Alicia and the children trying to come to terms with their husband and father's absence.
Alicia's bad luck doesn't end there, though, as she has to try to heal the rift with her sister in law, Sabrina, too. Sabrina had never approved of Alicia, and there is no love lost between them. It looks as if they may be able to bond over their loss, however, and the children seem to be happy, too.
Nathan has decided to follow his fathers footsteps and study law, while his sister tries to come to terms with being back in her old town. Sabrina really appears to have changed and accepted her new family, until she accuses Nathan of a crime that he is adamant he didn't commit.
It is at this point that the book changes from a tragic novel into an award winning book, with the battles that follow the accusation being some of the best writing I have ever read. You'll be gripped by Lewis' ability to show you exactly how everyone feels, and how torn apart the family dynamics are.
The end of the book is excellent too, and I read it all in a day. While Susan Lewis' books are always a good read, this is one of my firm favourites, and I recommend it to everyone. A truly excellent book.
Reading and holidays go together in my mind and having read one book during the first couple of days I found myself looking at the well stocked library in the hotel where we were staying. I found a few I could have read by authors whose names I knew but I was pulled towards the very large book called Lost Innocence and thought that would fill a few days, the added incentive was that Susan Lewis was named as a Best selling author by the Sunday Times and comments by the Independent, Daily Mail and Woman helped me make my decision that I would try this book.
On the back cover I read that "Sometimes the truth can be harder to bear than a lie....", it made me wonder what sort of story would unfold. The main character was called Alicia Carlyle and we were told that she returns to the home of her childhood after the tragic death of her husband and that she wanted to put the past behind her.
The book has 470 pages, larger than normal paperbacks so gives the reader plenty to read, for those interested the ISBN is 978-0-099-52564-6 and it originally cost £11.99, but worth shopping around for a bargain!
The main characters are
Alicia - wife to Craig who was a successful QC, living in London and mother to Nathan and Darcie. She was becoming a successful sculptor and beginning to branch out in the world. She has an old school friend called Rachel who lives near her old home and who is married and works as a Vet.
Nathan and Darcie are the teenage children, Darcie only playing a small part in the story.
Robert - Alicia's brother, married to Sabrina and step father to Annabelle, a 15yr teenager, his home is in the village he was brought up in. He is a top secret scientist and spends a lot of time working away from home.
Sabrina - married to Robert, a woman trying to take over her Mother-in -laws jobs organising charity work in the village. She publishes a local magazine with her friend June.
Cameron - an Art critic plays a part in both Alicia's and Sabrina's life.
Jolyon and Oliver - are friends of Craig and successful in the world of Law. They both play important parts, and it is interesting to see how much research has been made into the law part of the story.
There are friends of Nathan, Darcie and Annabelle in the story, very different in their outlooks. Annabelle's friends are older and like to party, take drugs, drink alcohol and have sex - underage sometimes.
The story unfolds in an unlikely named village - Holly Wood! The main street being very different to Hollywood, as Alicia drives up to her old home to start a new life after her husband's death. Her mother, Monica had left the house to her a year ago when she died, and sadly Alicia had been prevented visiting there after an argument with her sister in law about an affair.
Occasionally the script changes and you are taken back to something that happened previously, the author has the ability to transport you to other scenes, so that you feel you are there, you hear the music, feel the heat, taste the wine, appreciate the old shop that belonged to Monica is in terrible condition and so much has to be done to turn it into a haven for works of art. Occasionally some humour lightens the situations, as in parts of the story I felt for the children as they suffered. As a mother I wondered how I would cope and I had to reach for the tissue box a few times!
This isn't your usual love story, but it has crime and passion, plus the research gives you facts that I didn't know and found interesting. I now know more about the Clifton Suspension bridge, information about Court cases and facts about local council procedures! I felt that she had delved deeply into things to get the facts right before writing.
An easy to read book, but one that kept me absorbed and one that didn't disappoint. Things puzzled me at times, but I kept reading, there are things that might cause upset regarding the crime described, I won't give away what happened but on the cover we are told that 17 year old Nathan was accused by Annabelle of a crime he insists he didn't commit.
Lost Innocence is a book that made me think as I read it and I hope others may be moved rather than "enjoy" this brilliant novel.