Alex Crane’s husband is critically ill in hospital as she waits to talk to the medical staff she recounts her life with him and their loveless marriage, as well as the secrets in her own family. Alex’s relationship with her mother is strained, in part due the fact Alex has I perceptions on her face in the form of moles, have I, which have been prominent since birth, but she was close to her grandfather who passed away years ago. Her passion for her oldest friend burns brightly from when they were at school together, “I am desperate that my friend should not marry this man I have never met, but I know no way of preventing it. She has, it seems, resigned herself to her fate, like some tragic nineteenth century literary heroine. She will not be swayed by reason or logic, and I fiddle with blades of grass and pick up pebbles, turning them, letting them fall through my fingers, not knowing what to do, or what to say. She watches me, willing me not to voice my feelings.”
As Alex recounts her life we learn she has a deadly secret but there seem to be many secrets around her.
This character-driven psychological thriller develops slowly but grips and pulls you in. Alex is a complex character and does what is expected of her by society and her family on the surface, whilst deeper she is in turmoil and greatly unhappy and unfulfilled. The animosity between her mother and her paternal grandmother is overt but the reasons not really known to Alex, which leads to her delving into finding out what happened to cause their rift.
I found the book more interesting after I was half-way through it, the last half picks up the pace a little and we see and understand more about Alex and her family. The writing is of a high quality and although the plot is intriguing eventually, I felt it lacked excitement in the first half. An entertaining family drama with subtle twists.