Thursday, 14 July 2016

Book Review: BLAME by Nicole Trope


Author: Nicole Trope
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Read: July 2016
Expected publication: 22 June 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads):

'I am here because they suspect me of something. I am here because I am a suspect. I know that, she knows that. Everyone knows that.' Anna

'It wasn't my fault. None of this is my fault!' Caro

Caro and Anna are best friends... they were best friends. Over a decade, Caro and Anna have bonded while raising their daughters, two little girls the same age but living two very different lives. The women have supported each other as they have shared the joys and trials of motherhood, but now everything has changed.

There's been a terrible car accident, an unimaginable tragedy that leaves both families devastated. Over two days as Caro and Anna each detail their own versions of events, they are forced to reveal hidden truths and closely guarded secrets.

The complicated lives of wives and mothers are laid bare as both women come to realise that even best friends don't tell each other everything. And when hearts are broken, even best friends need someone to blame.

A hard- hitting, provocative and gripping read from the queen of white-knuckle suspense and searing family drama. 

My thoughts:

Since meeting at the child health clinic when their daughters were babies, Anna and Caro have been best friends, supporting each other through the tough times. Caro has watched Anna struggle to manage the ever growing needs of her autistic daughter Maya, whilst Anna has noticed Caro turning to the comforts of alcohol after her multiple miscarriages and the stillbirth of her son at eight months. They have laughed and cried together, watched each other’s children, poured out their deepest fears and secrets. Until Maya is killed in a terrible accident, tearing the friendship apart.

Blame tells the story of the two women in the form of flashbacks as they are being interviewed by police investigating the events leading up to Maya’s death. It is a credit to the author that the story flows seamlessly despite changing from present to past and covering different time frames as both Caro and Anna recount their pasts, from the very beginning of their friendship to the bitter end. As the story unfolds and different details of both women’s lives are unveiled, the reader is being torn between sympathy and doubt as the women reveal some of their deepest secrets and the events surrounding Maya’s death are being cast in a different light. Who really is to blame? The more we find out about each woman, the more we doubt that the accident was as straight forward as originally believed. As Trope shines the spotlight on a characters, the shadows also appear. Very well done!

I cannot begin to imagine what Anna’s life with Maya must have been like, and yet felt closer to Caro, who wore her heart on her sleeve and shared her emotions freely with the reader. Both women appeared genuine and rounded, each with their own unique personality, which made the story extremely readable and addictive and emotionally gripping. I could not put the book down! Whilst it is slow moving in the recounting of events, the power of the story lies in its emotional charge rather than the action, and presents a real rollercoaster ride of emotions for the reader. Trying to put myself in either woman’s place was sheer horror and the author conveys this feeling well, a no-win situation where their backs are against the wall and the only way out is to blame the other for the child’s death. Hidden in the pages, but no less interesting, are the dynamics of both women’s marriages, and there are also some surprises in store here – but to go into detail would spoil the fun, so I won’t give any more away here. I thoroughly enjoyed Blame and read it greedily in one go. You won’t regret picking it up!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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