Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Books Read: Charity Norman - The Son-in-Law

On a sharp winter's morning, a man turns his back on prison. Joseph Scott has served his term. He's lost almost everything: his career as a teacher, his wife, the future he'd envisaged. All he has left are his three children but he is not allowed anywhere near them.

This is the story of Joseph, who killed his wife, Zoe. Of their three children who witnessed the event. Of Zoe's parents, Hannah and Frederick, who are bringing up the children and can't forgive or understand Joseph.

They slowly adjust to life without Zoe, until the day Joseph is released from prison...

The Son-in-Law is an emotional story about the impact that a moment of loss of self-control which resulted in the tragic death of of Zoe; daughter of Hannah and Freddie, wife of Joseph and mum to Scarlet, Theo and baby Ben.

Joseph has paid the ultimate price for his actions, the loss of his wife for which he was rightly convicted, but now that he's served his sentence and he's up for parole he wants to rekindle his relationship with his children.  But Hannah and Freddie, who are now bringing the children up, are horrified at this thought and will do anything to protect the children and prevent this from happening.  

Told from the viewpoints of Hannah, Joseph and Scarlet, you get to see the impact that this tragic event had from the three different perspectives, most poignantly that of 13-year-old Scarlet who witnessed everything that happened that tragic day.

I was torn whilst reading this heartbreaking story, I so wanted to dislike Joseph as a character because of what he'd done but at the same time I found myself warming to him the more I read.  Nothing could ever condone his actions but it was clear that there was more to the story than initially first thought.

Scarlet was the character I felt the most for, you could literally feel her pain at not being able to save her mother, and the torment and mixed emotions she was feeling due to Joseph's reappearance.   

This was a wonderfully written story that captivated me from the start and one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to others.

This is the first book by Charity Norman that I've read but I have just bought a copy of her previous book, After The Fall, after reading some of the great reviews for it, so I just need to clear my backlog of reviews to enable me to find the time to read it...

I'd like to thank Sam at Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of this book to review.  Amazon links: Paperback or Kindle  

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