This book starts at the end but without giving anything away, well apart from the fact that one of the sisters is dead. However, you don’t know which and I do like a book that gives the ending away without any of the plot.
This is not a novel for the fainthearted as it deals with PTSD, domestic violence, miscarriage, long standing extra marital affair, alcoholism and drugs. I did not however find it depressing as many people who have reviewed said they did. I felt that Kate, a war correspondent and the PTSD sufferer, took on the job she did full of hope. Hope that in telling the truth others will understand and maybe act, hope that ultimately love does win and hope that she can make a difference. Kate along with her sister Sally had difficult childhoods and both have been haunted by them into adulthood though they react to it in very different ways. As a result they are not on good terms and hold each other responsible for how bad things are.
I felt that Nuala Ellwood dealt with the difficult issues sensitively yet honestly (as far as I know, and I am sure everyone’s experience of each of these issues is different). I had sympathy for both sisters’ perspectives as they reacted to their troubled past, one by confronting horrors directly through her work as a war correspondent and the other hiding in the fog of alcohol.
The parts I found hard to read were when each of the sisters at times drank too much. The narrative took the story down the inevitable path of self destruction when too much wine was consumed and I felt frustrated with the character for not showing more restraint. But that of course is the point and the problem with alcohol even when the individual is not classed as an alcoholic.
I did not foresee the twist in the last quarter or so of the book, maybe a more discerning reader would pick up on it sooner. So for me it was an interesting turn of events which made me, along with the sisters, see the whole story very differently.
The ending could be described as happy but in reality it wasn’t. Without giving too much away, it ends in a peaceful way and I re-read the prologue now I knew the outcome and it helped to re-visit that part. It most certainly wasn’t a ‘happy ever after’, perhaps an ‘as good as it could be’ ending.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend to others.