An intense book about choices, guilt, shame, abuse and how one woman faces up to these issues. Unusual in its portrayal of sensitive topics where the abuser is not merely a monster but a fully rounded human capable of tenderness and vulnerability.
The story is told in the first person by the eponymous narrator in a dual timeline of 'before' and 'after'. She covers the areas where her guilt and betrayal stems from, how she feels she let down both her father and partner. She decides to run away from her problems into the deep wilderness of a forest only to find that she cannot run away from herself - literally. Here she comes face to face with another version of herself only to find that guilt and secrets still exist.
Sometimes confusing, always engaging, this is an uncomfortable journey that touches on the most intimate and human detail as well as the cosmos and the possibility of a parallel universe . The misogynistic attitudes towards violent women and dismissive control are expressed in such a way that I needed to break away to process what I had read. Beautifully written, Lewis questions what love actually is and what it means to be a victim.
I had another Beth Lewis book, Bitter Sun, in my to-be-read pile and it wasn't one I was keen to read thinking that it may be a shallow romance. It wasn't. I won't make that mistake again. Beth Lewis is a seriously good writer.
Published by Hodder and Stoughton on 19 August 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.