5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Secrets and lies,
This review is from: The Other Half of Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved this book from the outset; the beautiful limpid writing style drew me in immediately and though the tone almost throughout is melancholy I was not really saddened but enthralled.
Certainly the plot is minimal: Jonathan and Theo grow up largely ignored by their mother on a vast and isolated estate in Wales until their grandmother, Eve, ex-American politician and hotel magnate, returns to change their lives for ever. Jonathan is under the spell of Eve from the start, dreamy Theo less so. As they grow they become aware of dark secrets in their family, which come to affect Theo in particular and she grows up in a round of parties, drink and drugs, unable to hold down a job or commit to anything. Jonathan loves her but she increasingly irritates him. He has his own way of coping with life, one night stands, hard work (he becomes a modernist architect) drinks and drugs, and, like Theo, he finds commitment impossible though he has been in love with a girl for years. The shadow of the family hangs over them all.
Secondary characters are good. Power-hungry Eve, fighting to keep her world as she wants it; Nick, Maria, Alicia, Felix: they all make their impression, but the story belongs to the brother and sister, each 'the other half of me'.
The story brought tears and made me feel very sad, and angry for Theo, but I would not have had it different. The characters felt right and I was right in there with them.
My only criticisms are that I thought the ending was possibly a bit forced and I found it hard to accept that American Eve, at least, would not have noticed or acted upon Theo's deteriorating condition.
Minor quibbles though and I very definitely look forward to more from this author.