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I had enjoyed “Love etc.,” by the same author so I thought I should read this, which comes before it chronologically.
This book uses the same method of telling the story, that of allowing each character to “talk” to us as if we were having a genuine conversation with them. I found this, as in the first book, a clever and innovative way of telling a story, despite the fact that it largely dispenses with conversation between characters and description of scenes.
As before, I found the characters immediately arresting and believable, but whereas in “Love etc.,” I found the story believable, in this book I found it totally incredible: that a woman who has been married such a short time should have her mind turned so quickly by someone she scarcely knows. Her ex-husband’s reaction is equally unbelievable and just doesn’t ring true.
Maybe it was because I had read “Love etc.” first but in this book I found the device of telling the same story from a different angle rather restricting and the story itself lacked substance.
The book does, however, have some interesting insights into relationships and marriage and there are some real moments of black humour. You will no doubt recognise someone you know or maybe yourself in some episodes.
I was truly struck by the originality of “Love etc.,” but this didn’t “grab” me in the same way. I wondered if it was because it is a bit dated (it was written in the time before mobile phones and emails) but this didn’t fully account for the lack of credibility. One episode in particular stands out in my mind: Gillian seriously considering wearing the same dress to her second wedding that she wore to her first and then opting instead to wear one of her mother’s!
In conclusion a disappointing read and a book I wouldn’t recommend to anyone else.
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.