You know that when there is a contemporary novel about a perfect married couple with their beautiful, perfect baby, sooner or later you will learn that something is amiss. The dark secret in this marriage was that the husband was a wife abuser. Still, the wife had a complete mental breakdown after her husband commits suicide.
This is a character driven novel that is narrated by the young mother and her mother-in-law. The chapters alternate between them. The mother-in-law raised her son to believe that he could do no wrong no matter how much wrong he did. At a very young age, he showed signs of serious anger issues, but his mother was determined to believe that he was and would always be perfect. All of her own identity went into who her son was. They had an extremely toxic relationship, to the point of being able to say that this is a novel about two women loving the same man.
The author, Kelly Rimmer, answers the unsympathetic question of “why don’t they just leave?” As shown in the end-notes, Rimmer did her homework. On this subject she wrote similar to Anna Quindlen’s novel “Black and Blue.” Though Quindlen, as a Pulitzer Prize journalist winner wrote about domestic violence in a less sentimental manner than Rimmer. Quindlen’s style of writing may not appeal to those who enjoy Rimmer, whose novel is a soul searching book with much emotional appeal.
The interactions between the two mothers were upsetting as well as fascinating to read. Although, I found fault that the mother-in-law was written as a one-dimensional character. She was almost too easy to hate, which I did. My main issue with this book is that is it is marketed as having a breathtaking twist. The supposedly blindsiding incident was obvious very early on in the story. I actually thought the author was not hiding it. So I kept waiting for the twist right up until the last page. This does not make the story any less of a heart-wrenching read, but it did spoil it for me. I am having a hard time understanding how other Advanced Copy Reviewers (ACR) missed it. I probably will not read Rimmer again, but if you are in the mood for a real tear-jerker, this one is for you.
Find all my reviews at https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4793025-martie-nees-record?shelf=read