I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
I actually finished reading this book over a week ago now, but I’ve been so busy with my latest MA assignment I thought I’d wait and post it as this week’s review. I really enjoyed this book, but I have to say the enjoyment hasn’t lasted much. It’s one of those books I enjoyed reading, but which left no real impression on me in the end.
Author: Sharon Bolton
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Bantam Press (2 July 2015)
What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?
So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?
I’m not a huge fan of the title, here, but I really like the concept of this novel. I mean, your best friend kills your kids? WOAH. But, then, I expected there to be murder involved (Amazon’s & NetGalley’s new blurbs are clearer on this than the one I read, where it was more ambiguous), and the fact that it was an accidental death gives the novel a whole different feel. I’m not saying it was bad, because I do enjoy a novel that explores guilt and more psychological stuff too, but it just wasn’t what I expected.
What I liked:
1. The Characters
As always, Sharon Bolton has created a cast of completely believable characters. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to gel with the protagonist at first, but after a few chapters I really felt for her. I liked her a lot – and I was actually disappointed when the POV switched away from her (probably because this didn’t happen until about halfway through the novel and I wasn’t expecting it).
2. The Premise
I think this idea is really neat. Take a couple of unrelated incidents (the death of Catrin’s children and the sudden disappearance of a little boy on the island) and weave them into a tale that is interconnected, drawn together by grief and mystery and determination. I liked the idea a LOT, and thought Bolton worked really hard to bring all these separate elements together. However, I also had a few problems with it in the end (there may be spoilers ahead).
What I didn’t like:
1. The Execution
I think my biggest problem with this novel is what felt like a lack of commitment. Not from Bolton as such, because I understand why she did what she did, but from the characters involved. Catrin opens the novel planning to kill her best friend. But unfortunately, being inside her head, I was fairly convinced from the outset she wouldn’t go through with it – and (spoilerspoilerSPOILER) I wasn’t wrong. The problem, really, was that I liked Catrin too much. Yes, she was flawed. She was. But did I think she was truly capable of murdering her ex-best friend in cold blooded revenge? Nope. Not even for a second. Even when the characters around her thought she’d do it.
I guess really I expected something grittier, given the tone and the way the novel starts. And really, what I got wasn’t what I thought. It wasn’t as gritty, wasn’t as hopeless or upsetting. And the ending was really far too happy (although the fangirl in me was very happy with the romantic outcome). Still, well worth the read because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good dramatic guilt-ridden tale about redemption?
2. Multiple POVs
This is probably a personal thing, but recently I’ve been liking novels with static points of view. I like novels where you’re so entrenched in one person’s perspective that you forget that others exist – and this novel isn’t one of those. This is building on what I said earlier, but I guess I wouldn’t have minded the POV switches so much if I’d seen them coming, or been warned that this was going to happen. But I was halfway through the novel and all of a sudden I was in Callum’s head – and then Rachel’s. And really I just preferred Catrin. =P
Anyway, I did enjoy this novel, but ultimately I think I felt a bit cheated. I know dead children is not something to want when reading any sort of book – but I think I wanted something more than what I got. Like, an actual murder or something. There was too much coincidence and not enough investigation. But, in any case, if you go into it knowing what to expect I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I think I was just coloured by my reading of Bolton’s other novels and not really knowing what to expect with this one (having not read a good blurb, haha).
Little Black Lies is due for release on July 2nd 2015 and is currently available for pre-order.