Book Review: The Betrayals – Fiona Neill

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About The Book

When Rosie Rankin’s best friend has an affair with her husband, the consequences reverberate down through the lives of two families.

Relationships are torn apart. Friendships shattered. And childish innocence destroyed.

Her daughter Daisy’s fragile hold on reality begins to unravel when a letter arrives that opens up all the old wounds. Rosie’s teenage son Max blames himself for everything which happened that long hot summer. And her brittle ex-husband Nick has his own version of events.

As long-repressed memories bubble to the surface, the past has never seemed more present and the truth more murky.

Sometimes there are four sides to every story.

Who do you believe?

Told through the eyes of four members of the same family, The Betrayals takes an unflinching look at contemporary family life, explores the nature of memory and desire and asks whether some things can ever be forgiven.

My Review

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill has been on my Kindle for some time and when I finally got round to reading it I was annoyed with myself for not picking it up sooner as this is an absolute cracker of a book.

Told via multi-person narrative The Betrayals explores the nature of memory and whether it is reliable. Touching on a plethora of issues including; cancer, mental illness and OCD, loyalty, trust, relationships and secrets this book is gripping, well-written and at times both funny and incredibly moving. The multiple viewpoints of Rosie, Daisy, Max and Nick helped to build a wonderfully multi-layered novel which kept me intrigued and interested in finding out what had happened all those years ago. Fiona Neill creates a suspenseful aura of mystery which is never obvious or frustrating – there are just enough clues and hints dropped to help put the puzzle pieces together.

This is a thoroughly modern book examining the fallout from an affair between Nick, wife of Rosie and her best friend, Lisa. Their affair and subsequent relationship causes a rift between the two families which seems unfixable. Daisy, daughter of Nick and Rosie is affected the most, suffering a mental breakdown and finding herself in the grips of OCD. We meet Daisy both as a young teen encountering her first stirrings of lust and as a young woman in her first serious relationship. My heart broke for Daisy, Fiona Neill has written a complex and multi-layered character and really examines the impact of the summer in Norfolk on this fragile girl. It would be easy to paint her as a victim or weak for her illness but we see the strength it takes her to try to overcome this illness and the ongoing battle she undertakes.

I loved the examination of memory and what we remember. This is a common theme throughout the book – memories are never far from the surface for any of these characters and the differing viewpoints over what happened were interesting and absorbing.

I was very affected by this book, it really gripped me and had me enthralled. There is a lot going on and at times it gets very heavy but there are moments of wonderful light relief, particularly with Nick whose comments and asides at Lisa’s refusal to have medical treatment for her cancer deciding to see a spiritual healer instead made me giggle on more than one occasion. The realities of illness, both physical and mental on both the sufferer and their loved ones is brilliantly examined and wonderfully perceptive.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I found it absorbing and I really connected with it. It is modern and contemporary and a weighty literary mystery.

With thanks to the publishers Penguin UK – Michael Jospeh and NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review. The Betrayals was a Richard & Judy Book Club Pick and can be bought here

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