I have so many enthusiastic adjectives bouncing around my head right now, that I am struggling to pin down the right words to describe how I feel about this book.
I’ve read some really heartbreaking, wonderful stories recently that have moved me to tears – but this is the novel that has run so close to some of my own early experiences as a mother (experiences that I have begun to talk about on this blog), that it gnawed at my soul, particularly the last third of the novel. I won’t lie, it is a tough read in terms of content, at least, it was for me, but I didn’t feel ‘triggered’, if that’s the correct term, I felt heard. That it wasn’t just me. That I’m not alone. I actually found some comfort in that.
The story is told in the first person narrative by Cornelia, or Leah as she is known, and it spans a dual time line, simply entitled as chapter headings; ‘Now’ and ‘Then’. It is clear from the start that something terrible has happened to Cornelia, and as the novel unfolds and Leah’s present becomes ever affected by her past, events begin to slowly piece together.
I loved that whilst reading I never really knew where the author was taking me. I guessed that certain events were going to happen – but I was never sure how it would play out. I was absolutely hooked, and quite frankly I made barely any notes during reading because I was so invested in the story I didn’t even think about tearing myself away long enough to write about what I was reading. I just wanted to feel.
Being inside the mind of Cornelia is the highlight of this novel, no other narrative voice could have done justice to the raw emotion she is feeling. The author creates a sense of internalised pain and isolation that is so close, almost to the point of feeling claustrophobic. I felt what she felt, and I was with her every step of the way. She is a wonderfully flawed character, but many of those flaws are a product of her tragic experiences.
In my opinion this is a novel that should be read, if not for the fantastic plot, then just for what it teaches about the darker side of motherhood. Upon finishing the Netgalley supplied e-book, I shut down my Kindle, opened up my Amazon app and pre-ordered the hardback. It is very rare that I do this, I more often than not await the paperback if it is a book I love, but this book is special and I wanted it on my bookshelf as soon as possible.
Cornelia Blackwood is about to do something very wrong, for reason she believes to be right.
She has a loving marriage but she has no friends.
Everyone knows Cornelia’s name but no one will speak to her now.
Cornelia has unraveled once before. What could possibly happen to her next?
An urgent and important novel of love, loss, tragedy and daring to hope again.
*My ebook arc was provided via Netgalley. The decision to read was my own, and this review forms my honest opinion.