About this book: (from the publisher) Annie Delancey is happily married, in her early 50s, with three grown children. But Annie guards a secret. At age nineteen she had a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. She still thinks of him every day.
One day she receives a letter from Kent Social Services; her son Daniel wants to make contact. A part of her is overjoyed–she longs to meet him. But another part fears what this revelation will do to her family, none of whom know about her past.When Daniel is introduced to Annie’s family, a few small tears in the family fabric suddenly gape wide, and the impact of is greater than she could have ever imagined.
About the author: Hilary Boyd is a former health journalist. She has published six nonfiction books on health-related subjects such as step-parenting, depression and pregnancy. This is her second novel. She lives in London.
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: R. For language and adult themes.
Judging this cover: 4.5 stars out of 5. The colors are pleasing and appealing to women, perhaps especially women in their 30’s and above, which I would peg as the targeted audience. I like how the birds allude to motion and change, while the tree symbolizes family. All in all, the cover art nicely captures the tone and content of the story.
Reminds me of… Gil McNeil, minus the over-the-top humor.
You’ll want to buy this book if … you enjoy edgy women’s fiction that explores the complexities of family relationships.
Why did I read this book? For Querus for review
Would I read another by this author? Definitely.
My take: I’m impressed. Sophomore novel…really? Those aren’t easy to pull off. I’ve not read Hilary Boyd’s fiction debut (Thursdays in the Park), but now I’m inclined to. As well as whatever comes next. This writer is gifted. Her prose is uncomplicated yet lovely, her character real, her pacing absolutely spot-on.
I really enjoyed how there’s something to like and not-like about each of her main characters. (Except Aunt Best–her, you can only love.) I was also completely drawn into this story and relished the way it unfolded so believably. Really, for a while you’re wondering when the shoe is going to drop as the author lets out just enough line to keep you on the hook, keeping you guessing as to whether and when this family’s lives will get as tangled as the title promises. And then…it happens. And it happens so gradually, so credibly–it’s like the frog on boiling water scenario. So easy to imagine something similar happening to any one of us, where we look back and question how we got into such a pickle. And more, how on earth we’re going to get ourselves out of it.
[Tweet “Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd kept me on the hook from beginning to end.”]
I was a bit bummed at the nature of one of the bigger reveals about Daniel, the son given away at birth. I could see it coming, and hoped I would be wrong about it, but I wasn’t. It’s a twist that I feel has been so overdone in contemporary fiction that it now seems cliché. And there is a bit of language I could have done without. (Are all Brits inordinately fond of the f-bomb, or just the ones showing up in novels I’m reading?)
That said, I still found this to be a relatively light and easy read. I dashed through it in just a few days–and all this while packing for our trip to Africa. So that says something.
Thanks to Querus for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.