As a previous Margaret Forster fan I picked up this book with enthusiasm, but as a health care worker I found it disturbing and depressing. Perhaps this was the intention and it certainly kept me turning the pages but ultimately this book describes women's lives being devastated by cancer, surrounded by dysfunctional relationships and fear, anger and loneliness. Whilst a diagnosis of cancer is never anything but devastating, many real people who survive cancer or live with the diagnosis of cancer find enormous strength within themselves and draw enormous support from relationships that become stronger because of discussing the things in life that really matter. I kept hoping that one of Forster's characters would find this strength and reach out to the others, but all her characters were isolated and lonely. This was a book about lives being destroyed by cancer rather than lives lived to the full despite cancer. I would like to know what breast cancer survivors think of this book but I would feel too nervous lending it to them. Maybe it would make them feel they were not doing too badly in the same way that Rachel Cusk's ' A life's work" made me feel I wasn't such a bad mother after all! But I think it would just make them feel depressed. There is no doubt however that Forster writes extremely perceptively about human emotions and experiences. The book has made me think differently about a human situation and this is always her great strength.